One question people will ask is “how do you decorate the GeoStudio?” Well to start with the basics, this style of geodesic dome is made up of 6 pentagons, five around the dome and the “crown” on top. My way has been to cover whole pentagons rather than individual triangles - there are 40 to deal with so doing those individually may look rather striking, the time commitment would be huge. Here is a picture that catches four of those pentagons. Picture here.
We can see two coverings here, paint and fabric. Fortunately the hardened foam insulation is paintable which means as far as that goes you can go to town with painting up to 40 different colours! This is pretty ambitious but the effect would be, no doubt, incredible. But I kept to simple white, for now.
Another option is to hang some fabric. No kidding. Go to your local thrift store and find something that matches your taste. With a staple gun and 10 minutes of your time you can have your GeoStudio a “one of a kind”.
I’ve managed to find a few other wall coverings that are attractive and easy to install - but am always looking for more options! Often I will get great ideas from visitors. For example, putting aluminum foil on the walls is a cheap way to increase reflectivity and cover the “unfinished” foam insulation. I wouldn’t recommend this on all the pentagons, the reflection may border on the kinky. LOL Anyways, check it out.
Then there’s always cardboard - simple, cheap and definitely sustainable. Cut some cardboard triangles, draw and colour them and staple to your dome interior. Whether you decide to use solid colour or drawings or anything else, the effect will be spectacular. I aim to try this one later, finding good solid cardboard without creases poses a challenge so if you have access to that let me know. :)
The point here is to illustrate the fact that making a GeoStudio look striking is really quite easy and only takes patience and desire. And the location of this ‘room’ is not all that makes it special, it is the shape, it is the windows, it is the ceiling height and even the resonance that adds to it’s uniqueness.
So while you might consider it as a functional work space, especially if you deal with clients on a one-to-one basis, it could also be used as a family space or even your own personal getaway. Either way, rest assured knowing there are a variety of wall coverings you can use to optimize the effect you want to achieve.
Have you ever entered someone’s house at the formal front door and discovered that you were basically entering their living room? We’ve all seen this a few times and while it probably didn’t spoil the visit, our discomfort is felt at a subconscious level. These days I ask myself, ‘what were they (the designers) thinking?’ The answer is really simple, with cost and “fashion” as being the greatest determining factors in home purchases the issue here is more likely to be an entryway that has been compromised in one or more ways.
In his book A Pattern Language author Christopher Alexander speaks of several design patterns that consistently re-occur in housing designs around the globe. The patterns go to the heart of designing a home and can be used across cultures and across time. There are hundreds of simple patterns that many designers are simply not aware of. These designers today are compelled to design based on current trends and cost. And unfortunately placing form before function is common. Better we design for function first, and then infuse the design with our creative flare. Miss either of these and you’ll get “creepy house syndrome”.
Most of the elements that form the “entryway pattern” are really just common sense. To start with the simplest part, the size of the entry needs to be scaled to the size of the building. The foyer should be large enough to remove your jacket without hitting your host :o large enough to actually have a closet and small enough to feel welcoming. You may be surprised how often these simple “rules” are broken.
Also a privacy wall that separates visitors from the interior space is simply good design. And so is having a seat nearby for visitors to remove their boots. And so is a window so that hosts can view who is approaching. And so is a higher ceiling (than the rest of the house) to give visitors a feel that this is a “common space”. And so is placing a work of art in the entryway. Yes it’s more than “just decorating”, it’s a sign of welcoming and putting visitors at ease without compromising the residents' need for safety. As you can tell there are many elements to this “simple” pattern.
And today with attention to heat conservation many commercial buildings are routinely designing entryways with an airlock. These too can be used in homes to our advantage - not only to keep the inside warm air separate from the outside cold air but to emphasize that all important transition zone.
Next time you walk into someone's abode notice if these features exist. They all serve the dual purpose of preserving the security of the residents and exercising the option to welcome strangers.
Can’t end this without the following, the GeoStudio too has a “tiny” transition zone that visitors may notice. It is an option which, while it is small, is important to guests entering. All are welcome to check this out.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln
The GeoStudio. I’m so enamored with it. It’s such a cool thing. I know where I want to be with this in 3-5 years but unfortunately I’m struggling with that short term space in front of me. That space, the critical first and second years in which the product comes out the gate and either flops or sputters along...or soars. That’s what’s on my mind these days.
Lewis Carroll said it, “If you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there”. Very apt when planning is critical. So here I am mustering my energies to do the first thing, that thing I should have done a long time ago but didn’t have the common sense or the wherewithal to do.
The most important piece of the puzzle at this time is to clearly define the customers to whom the GeoStudio will go to. I thought this would be easy. Not!
You may be here because of a brochure you picked up or from a Facebook link or because I twisted your arm or bribed you...but here you are and hopefully you hang in here for another couple minutes and maybe just maybe it’ll be worth your while. You’ll definitely make my day.
No doubt everyone's way of doing market research is different because there are an infinite number of ways to do this. I’ve chosen the ubiquitous online survey. Yeah yeah it does lack imagination but I am only looking for numbers. Your numbers.
Here’s the gig. I’m sure you’ve had a pretty good look at the GeoStudio on this website. It’s the only one in existence so far (wooden frame, insulated to the nines, a tiny 'live in' space). Here’s my ask; fill in the form along with your phone number and when I reach 50 responses I will draw a winner. They will receive a $50 gift certificate to The Keg. Don’t worry if you’re vegan or vegetarian, we’ll work it out. For now, here’s their menu;
Anyways back to that questionnaire. When it’s done I’ll publish the results with a link from the facebook page. This will satisfy your curiosity (if you’re curious) and it’ll satisfy my need for solid data. So that’s it. Please do it. 3 minutes no more. I promise. Thanks! here it is
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.