Re(2): thoughts on domes and markets



Ron Stevens writes:
> The culturalist in me arises to take slight exception
> to the statement: Every world continent seems to have
> ancient dome examples within it's traditions. In the
> architectural sense, Domes, or Cupolas, are not found
> in aboriginal architectures on any continent except
> Europe...

The only thing I take exception to in that statement is the apostrophe in
"it's". In Asia, you have yurts. In the middle east, you have tents.
Wherever you have aboriginal cultures that build shelters by bending two
or more saplings together and tying them where they cross, you have a dome
structure. (And let's not forget the igloo.) It might be stretching a
point to call a tipi a dome, but they definitely have more in common with
domes than they do with rectangles.

When post-and-beam building gave way to balloon framing, suddenly dome
structures were everywhere. The trouble with these box houses is that they
are really just distorted and structurally inefficient domes.


> Domes are a "man created" structure with only a few examples in
> nature: caves, and some biological examples of waterborne life.

(I'll never understand why people insist on saying this.) Ron, I don't
know how waterborne you are, but YOU are most definitely an example of a
dome in nature. (Shall I evoke the image of Bucky tapping that writer on
his head and telling him he's been living in a dome all his life?) 

The eggs I ate for breakfast this morning came in naturally-occurring
dome-shaped (luckily for the hen) containers. Soon, I look forward to
eating an orange that I'll first have to extract from within its
dome-shaped container (and I will take pleasure in extracting it in such a
way that the structure of the container will still be visible; my wife's
always getting onto me for leaving those things lying around). 

I've been collecting turtle shells for a long time, now. Not only are they
domes, they are visibly geodesic in structure, composed of modified
pentagons and hexagons (some of the hexagons modified almost to the point
of being quadralaterals). 

There are examples of domes and geodesic structures everywhere in nature.
Have you ever come across an ovenbird's nest? Or cut open an oak gall? Or
had to remove a hornet's nest from your yard? Or gathered puffballs? Or
had to exercise a ridiculous degree of mechanical advantage to open a
walnut? (Or a ridiculously small degree of mechanical advantage to open a
peanut?) Or, maybe you have coconuts where you live. The leaves on the
trees on our property are geodesic structures of interlocking veinings so
efficient that only a slight, almost invisible degree of curvature is
needed to preserve their structural integrity.

What mankind did was try to remove the dome shape from the structures it
created... and it's always been a losing proposition, because little
aspects of the original closed-system shape have to keep creeping back in,
to keep the structures from collapsing.

jmr




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