UB Students Build Geodesic Dome In Williamsville Backyard

Release Date: June 15, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo students have constructed a steel, geodesic dome house in a Williamsville backyard, similar to the ones they developed as a cheap, practical form of housing for residents of poor villages in India.

Media are invited to see the dome and to speak to the students who built it at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 16, at 179 Fruitwood, off Sheridan Drive between Youngs and Transit roads. The dome is in the backyard of Venu Govindaraju, Ph.D., research scientist at UB.

The students are members of the UB group Gurukul that raises money and provides technical assistance to poor villages in India.

Based on Buckminster Fuller's ideas, the prototype was developed by the students and by leaders of a community development movement in India as a cheap, modular home suitable for severe climates, such as those experienced in many parts of India.

At a cost of about $500, the geodesic homes provide villagers with affordable, sturdy shelter and protection from sun and rain, as well as a new sense of permanence.

Since village homes typically consist of stones, mud and dried palm fronds, they often do not last through the monsoon season, and villagers must rebuild, sometimes every year.

Several dome houses already have been constructed in the Indian countryside midway between Madras and Calcutta. The UB students built the dome in Williamsville as a demonstration project in order to research new materials and improve the design.

According to the Indian development organization with which Gurukul works, providing adequate housing for India's population of 900 million has become severe, necessitating a fast and cheap method of building permanent housing.

The geodesic dome in Williamsville measures 24 feet in diameter and has a maximum height of 16 feet. It was constructed out of a modular frame of steel pipes attached to sheets of insulation.

For further information about the dome project and Gurukul, contact Rajiv Chopra at 645-6164.

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