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Geodesic Dome Workshop

June 15 @ 8:00 am - June 16 @ 5:00 pm


About this workshop

  • This workshop will provide both theory about Geodesic Domes and practical hands on experience with them. You will learn about:
  • the history of geodesic domes
  • the theory of how they work and function
  • the specifications of their construction details
  • the benefits to you and the environment with this sustainable building technique and lots more.

You will construct a 5 meter “Outback Dome” at the Permaculture Sydney Institute Farm for a greenhouse from the foundations to completion, thus gaining a wholistic experience with geodesic domes and the hands-on practical skills to build your own. Essentially, we will be:

  • preparing the footings
  • erecting steel tube frames that bolt together using hand tools and form the exceptionally strong, long-lasting structure.
  • making doors and windows
  • covering the dome with a durable, one-piece dome cover that is completely weatherproof and able to withstand our Aussie climate – sun, wind, rain, hail and snow.
  • learning how to make use of both active and solar ventilation systems which help control and moderate temperatures both in summer and winter
  • installing stand-alone lighting and power options.

We are partnering with the Outback Dome company for this workshop. For full details of the company, its products and its history, see www.outbackdomes.com.au. You can see there some detailed information about the how the domes are manufactured and assembled.

About the Trainer – Paul Spencer

Paul became interested in domes more than 25 years ago. “The combination of aesthetics, practicality and simplicity of construction are unmatched by conventional structures.” Paul describes himself as a “tentmaker”, but his business, Outback Domes doesn’t make the average Tent – think triangulated steel space frame and heavy duty covers that last for years exposed to all types of weather.

Paul’s long experience with Geodesic domes combined with his passion for Geodesic domes and education makes him an ideal trainer for this workshop. He runs training and education with schools and community groups and loves sharing information with others. Paul is rapidly becoming the spokesperson for GeoDomes here in Australia as his business expands and his customer base seeks new and innovative ways to use Domes in many different ways.

About Geodesic Domes

Anyone who has studied permaculture architecture and nature knows that the dome is the strongest pattern in nature. It’s not coincidental that nature uses this pattern for survival in its harshest conditions. The architect Buckminster Fuller was known for the geodesic dome. It appealed to Fuller because it was extremely strong for its weight, its “omnitriangulated” surface provided an inherently stable structure, and the spherical shape enclosed the greatest volume for the least surface area. Fuller also said “the best way to predict the future is to design it”, and what could be more relevant today, when we endure natures harshest conditions with climate change, than to design the strongest possible structures.

Geodesic domes are beautiful, strong and versatile structures that can be used anywhere. They are used throughout the world for homes, extra accommodation, studios, offices, meditation spaces, greenhouses, glamping and more. They are easy to assemble; lightweight yet strong; mobile; inexpensive; and energy efficient structures that are smart and look great too.

The Concepts behind the Geodesic Dome (Direct from the Buckminster Fuller Institute) One of the ways Buckminster Fuller (“Bucky”) would describe the differences in strength between a rectangle and a triangle would be to apply pressure to both structures. The rectangle would fold up and be unstable but the triangle withstands the pressure and is much more rigid–in fact the triangle is twice as strong. This principle directed his studies toward creating a new architectural design, the geodesic dome, based also upon his idea of “doing more with less.” Fuller discovered that if a spherical structure was created from triangles, it would have unparalleled strength. The sphere uses the “doing more with less” principle in that it encloses the largest volume of interior space with the least amount of surface area thus saving on materials and cost. Fuller reintroduced the idea that when the sphere’s diameter is doubled it will quadruple its square footage and produce eight times the volume. The spherical structure of a dome is one of the most efficient interior atmospheres for human dwellings because air and energy are allowed to circulate without obstruction. This enables heating and cooling to occur naturally. Geodesic shelters have been built all around the world in different climates and temperatures and still they have proven to be the most efficient human shelter one can find.

More specifically, the dome is energy efficient for many reasons:

  • Its decreased surface area requires less building materials.
  • Exposure to cold in the winter and heat in the summer is decreased because, being spherical, there is the least surface area per unit of volume per structure.
  • The concave interior creates a natural airflow that allows the hot or cool air to flow evenly throughout the dome with the help of return air ducts.
  • Extreme wind turbulence is lessened because the winds that contribute to heat loss flow smoothly around the dome.
  • It acts like a type of giant down-pointing headlight reflector and reflects and concentrates interior heat. This helps prevent radiant heat loss.

The net annual energy cost for a dome owner is 30% less than normal rectilinear homes according to the Oregon Dome Co. This is quite an improvement and helps save the environment from wasted energy. Geodesic Domes have been designed by Bucky and others to withstand high winds and extreme temperatures as seen in the Polar regions.


June 15 @ 8:00 am
June 16 @ 5:00 pm
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Bandusia Country Retreat
1056 Upper Macdonald Rd
Upper MacDonald (St Albans), NSW Australia
+ Google Map
(02) 4568 2036


Paul Spencer
Bed breakfast and dinner packages also available at Bandusia Country Retreat including on-site camping; twin share or private double rooms.
Two-day workshop, notes, morning and afternoon teas and lunch