I’ve set a timeline for six weeks. But if the winter bears down and we get weeks of minus 20, things will definitely slow down. Either or, the show must go on.
The goal is to complete and move GeoStudio2 to our spot at Good Spirit Acres. From there, it’ll be set up for wintertime accommodations with off-season rates. People will be able to spend some time enjoying the outdoors and not have the worries of keeping warm since the heater will easily keep this 100 sq ft insulated ‘room in the woods’ at a comfortable 20 degrees C. The project, GeoStudio2, is the red and white dome shown as is today.
The next steps are; complete exterior door, build connecting vestibule, insulate entire dome, install heating system, build new top windows and create a ‘star gazer’ top pentagon. It’s likely that I’ll change the red to something more ‘earthy’. Camo anyone?
Lastly, the dome will be placed on campsite 'P' next to the river. People will be able to enjoy a photogenic spot only feet away, of where the Waterton meets the Belly River. A place of historic significance to the surrounding native culture, the term 'sacred space' is often used in its description. But no matter what your viewpoint one cannot help but feel inspired by the landscape.
At this point GeoStudios would like to wish you all a wonderful white Christmas and let's look forward to an eco-friendly 2018!
A Place in the woods
Does the pace of life in the modern world cause you stress and anxiety? We are all so tied up in this complex web of the world we’ve created that we often forget to take the time out to escape from the world. And when we do feel ready to unplug for even a day it is fraught with hassles and logistical issues too large to make it possible. There is a solution.
To begin, if you’ve read my previous blog about Good Spirit Acres campground (Sept 6) you’ll know this is an off-grid space. People who come to this campsite often bring with them fully equipped RV’s. We know that's not available to everyone for a variety of reasons whether they be financial or logistical or technical. All we know is that whole process CAN be simplified.
GeoStudios is working towards providing people with a year round camping experience that is both warm and close to nature. We are working to create that perfect winter holiday getaway that includes a heated space with nature right outside your door. Think "a hotel room in the woods". That would translate into the beauty of the dark sky along with the privacy of a secluded space. Winter definitely has its advantages. Call to reserve a time.
The Price list
After a lot of number crunching, deliberations, considerations, redesigning, double checking, comparing and everything else that goes with making a commitment...the price list is finally out!
You may be interested in using the GeoStudio as a greenhouse or you might want something more for people rather than plants. You might want to set it up as a getaway place for you and your significant other. You might want a private backyard art studio. Or a meditation space. Or a kids play dome. But whatever you decide ultimately it needs to be built to suit your needs.
The most basic GeoStudio starts just under $3700. This model is 100 sq ft, 42” side walls, 2x6 floor, custom entryway and 3 round windows. This model will get you started on the adventure! From here you can decorate an innumerable number of color combinations and finishes and do so at your own pace and on your own budget. What a perfect way to use your “designer genes”!
The price list also shows that the GeoStudio has a number of other options that are not part of the basic price. These other options will move your GeoStudio “upscale” towards, if you desire, a finished abode that you yourself will be able to live in year-round.
These other options include insulation, propane heating system and underfloor skids. More options are planned such as storage cabinets, benches, a 'kitchen' counter, a solar power package, a composting toilet and my favourite the “Star Gazer” pentagon. The Star Gazer on top of the dome will allow you to view the night sky from inside your dome no matter what the conditions outside. This one will be fun!
So there is plenty to look forward to. But if you or someone you know is interested in having a dome in their backyard (or campsite) send them this link to give them an idea of what is already available.
Mar 12th Decorating the Dome
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.
Mar 8th The Entryway
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.
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.