The term “sacred geometry” gets thrown around a lot. Definitions abound but generally circle around something like, “ascribes symbolic and sacred meanings to certain geometric shapes and certain geometric proportions”. (www.crystalinks.com)
Now, I’m not a religious person and would not call myself spiritual, but if one were to be completely logical about it all there is an “efficiency” of certain shapes that cannot be denied. First, looking at nature we see virtually all critters’ nests are round. That’s very nice but let’s go about this in a more scientific manner.
The claim is that the circle is the most efficient shape. It has the smallest “perimeter to space ratio”. If you take the area of a shape and divide by its perimeter, that number will be the perimeter to area ratio.
To test this idea; take a triangle, a square, a 6-sided hexagon and a circle each 100 sq ft and calculate their perimeters. I’ll spare you the math but the results are: triangle 45’, square 40’, hexagon 37’ and circle 35’.
Notice that more sides you have, the smaller the perimeter.The circle would be a shape of infinitely smaller sides and it has the shortest length and theoretically uses the fewest materials to achieve the same square footage. The circle therefore, is the most efficient shape “in nature”.
Those two words, “in nature”, are key. While many say there is more waste in building a circle than in regular construction and I would agree, but not because of the shape, more because the building industry doesn’t “do round” very well.
So along comes Walther Balhaus (?) inventor of the geodesic dome, not Buckminster Fuller as some believe. Balhaus was an engineer in the 1920’s who was asked to build a planetarium. He discovered a way to build “rounded” buildings using square materials. He gave modern industrial society an opportunity to turn to something more “close to nature” as it were.
Aside from any religious beliefs it is worth noting that some buildings do make a person “feel different” when we enter. I think that feeling is one of awe. A high ceiling of any type tends to do that, commonly in large public buildings. But we can simulate that effect in a small space too. To achieve the effect of a high ceiling on a small scale, without looking awkward about it from an exterior design perspective, would be to make a dome shape. Trying it in a tiny rectilinear building that is higher than it is long...risks looking awkward and “boxy”.
So while I haven’t completely bought into the idea of sacred geometry I am fairly certain that spaces affect our well-being and the shape of those spaces would be one of those considerations.
When I started this project many said, “what would you use a tiny geodesic dome for? Is it a tool shed? A playhouse? A place to put your ATV? There’s no place to hang stuff, there are no corners.” I struggled at first because I wasn’t sure myself. All I knew is I wanted to build a geodesic dome. And it had to be heatable.
Eventually I stumbled on the idea that it would have a very useful function - it would be a place for people to run a home-based business out of. The reasons for this became apparent; “leave the house without leaving home”, save the cost of downtown office rent, more control over one's hours of operation, childcare issues more easily dealt with and and…who doesn’t want all those?
The more I worked it the more other uses I thought of. Kids can use these for play spaces - even their noise wouldn’t disrupt the neighbourhood. Teens could “practice independence”, mom’s could get some quiet time, dad’s could play music. Basically anyone can find a use for it if it’s presented correctly.
Here’s more. Being highly insulated and small provides two immediate benefits; the GeoStudio can be heated with a small space heater and is a great sound buffer. With a minimum R20 insulation (standard on houses) the spray foam hardens and as a bonus adds strength to an already strong geodesic structure. On the windiest of days it is amazingly quiet.
Many people spoke to me about getting a solar panel. And more windows. And a skylight. And floor coverings. So yes, yes, yes and yes. There will be many upgrades! And of course each person's use will determine that.
Consider this; an addition to your house could surpass $50K especially if extending the foundation. If you live in a two bedroom house and are contemplating a 3 bedroom house why not just get a GeoStudio which would be under $10K? Now that’s a saving . And we haven’t even addressed the fact that if you were to drop the business aspect you would still have a very usable space which would add value to your existing property.
Other applications of the GeoStudio extend to gardening and personal food supply. Of course a greenhouse can be built for much cheaper if you just want to extend your planting/growing season but I’m talking about more “high-tech” uses - like aquaponics where temperature control is more exacting. More people are hearing about this new food production technology, google it. My goto is Dan at Thunderbird Farms, who has an aquaponics setup in a geodesic dome. He is close to having a year-round operation. www.thunderbirdfarms.ca
So here you have it, a few applications for the GeoStudio. I have a brochure which list more uses, it’ll go to this website soon. But my favourite use for the GeoStudio has yet to be created, a tiny house. More on that later.
Feb 20th - Intro to my blog
The time has come to begin writing a blog. It seems like the right thing at this point in my life. I just sat down to write a few ideas on what I could write, and I jotted down 10 viable and fun topics in less than 30 seconds! Well, that’s a good sign.
My goals are to be consistent, so I'll put one out every 4th day. That is, from the beginning of the month on the 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 20th, etc.. So this being the 20th is blog 1. This should, at least theoretically, add a measure of needed routine to my life. Commitment to a process is so important and I believe a regular schedule of discipline, mixed with some chaos, make for an interesting routine. I also don’t want the blogs to be too long. I respect peoples' time, (you don't have all day!) so I’ll try to limit to under 500 words.
Frankly I had my doubts about starting this. I was wondering if anyone would actually read this. And those who do might be critical. Aargh! And then I thought, maybe that’s not the best way to look at it. Actually, it’s downright dysfunctional. So that point of view needs to go.
I need to stick with the inner motives and focus on those. The two main motives for starting a blog are to help get this business off the ground and to keep people current on the evolving ideas around the GeoStudio itself and how it can play a role in not only backyard businesses - but eventually tiny houses and food production units. And more. So I think that's worth writing about. Dammit. (fist pounding emoticon here)
And to ramble on that, I enjoy writing and spewing my opinion. I do it with my keyboard all the time. It’s a family trait. And anyone who’s known me for much time has heard me go on a rant that appears to slip into other topics apparently unrelated. (What do you mean our throwing out this plastic cup creates a socio-economic catastrophe in Malaysia?) But you all know a guy like that right? I’m him.
So what I’m really saying is... I will touch on a diversity of topics without being too verbose.
Topics to be covered - the GeoStudio. It’s advantages of cost, strength and all that. This could get very tiring to my readers so I’ll throw in other stuff once in awhile. (smiley face here)
You’ll read about ; Sacred Geometry, Scale of Sustainability, Embodied Energy, Reflections on the LSLA, Deep Ecology, Water Use in a Tiny House, Advocating for Tiny Houses in Lethbridge, A New Culture and more.
I think 2017 will be interesting indeed.
(word count, 458)
Gilles Leclair is the founder of GeoStudios. Somewhat eccentric, fairly environmentalist, politically aware, he believes the world should have more off-grid communities... many more.