A dwelling system for industrial production  - the geodesic bioship harvests sunlight and food

The Geodesic Bioship is difficult to define in few words. Perhaps it is easier to first describe what it is designed to do: Geodesic Bioship Concept Drawing - industrial production

The term Geodesic refers to the structural form of the building. And the term Bioship suggests the image of a ship sailing through the biosphere, which is exactly what is it. Hence the term Geodesic Bioship. Our historical reflex of thinking of buildings as 'solid' and 'static' has always been incorrect. They are dynamic, constantly expanding then contracting, absorbing then desorbing moisture, tensing with wind shear, etc. The Geodesic Bioship, with its myriad biological interrelationships in constant flux, is even more alive -- a living ship for our earthian journey aboard this planet, a very alive and dynamic planet which is sailing along at over 60,000 miles per hour.

Watch a two-minute video about the Geodesic Bioship:   2011-BFI-Challenge-Video

Bucky, the initiator of energetic synergetic geometry, industrial production for livingryThe Geodesic Bioship was powerfully influenced by Buckminster Fuller, who first presented the geodesic dome and its mathematics to humanity. This approximately spherical, triangulated shape offers the maximum possible contained volume with the minimum structural investment (all stars and planets are all approximately spherical). If we are going to industrially produce enough dwellings to house everyone, and do so as rapidly and efficiently as possible, does it not make sense to assess the merits of nature's most economical method?

But Fuller influenced more than the shape of the building. He influenced the purpose of its functional design. He saw that humanity -- for the first time in history -- had the accumulated know-how to create a technological infrastructure that could handsomely support all humans, in sustainable syncronicity with the incredibly complex web of natural ecosystems, for all future days.  Yes, technology is the answer, at least an essential part of it. But only the right technology. Our accumulated know-how has irreversibly given us enormous power. What we choose to build is critical to our survival and indicative of the maturity of our wisdom. So is what we choose not to build.

Finally, he influenced the format of the Geodesic Bioship's presentation as a concept prototype for an industrially produced dwelling system. Fuller knew the exponentially leveraged advantage gained by many people contributing (industry) a complementary variety of special skills to make something, or many somethings (industrial production).  If programmed by the wisdom of adequately informed human choices, the rapid and consistent logic of computers can direct the inanimate muscle of machines to stamp out dwellings, vehicles, and industrial processes that are:

Yes, the 'if' is big. But it seems more a question about wisdom than one about know-how.  We now have the know-how.

Design Science - Toward a Peaceful MillenniumUse these links or scroll to sections on this page:

how much Jimmy Carter and Habitat For Humanity could accomplish if they had the titans of industry behind them?

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Geodesic Bioship flush glazing system, industrial production concept prototype
Geodesic Bioshelter Loft, industrial production concept prototype Geodesic Bioshelter summer greenhouse ventilation, industrial production concept prototype

A More Precise Definition  - performance requirements

The Geodesic Bioship shall be a dynamic, human life enhancing, environment structuring, energy valving system wherein teleologically apprehending intellect's know-how is longingly and ongoingly applied toward enhancing the only true human wealth by accomplishing ever better metabolic sustenance with evermore efficient investments of energy-mass and time. Daily sun energy income shall be effectively valved to safely and regeneratively provide the photosynthetic, mechanical, thermal, and electronic transformations optimal for the individual person and family's physical/metaphysical freedom for all earthian time.

Craft Construction vrs.. Industrial Production

Design Science
Craft production of housing may have great personal value for some of us. It can be a medium for personal expression of art and science, a healthy focus for personal ambition, a means of taking personal responsibility for the health of a certain place. But it can never even begin to leverage the advantages to humanity that are potential in industrial production

This Geodesic Bioship was built by the generous efforts of a several capable individuals over a multi-year period, yet it is still not fully completed.  Industrial production could produce dozens per day, at a fraction of the cost, with far greater performance capability.

Fuller gave us the special case example of alloys as a demonstration of the principle of synergy -- the principle that there are times when the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. For example chrome-nickel-steel: chromium has a tensile strength of about 70,000 pounds per square inch (psi), nickel is at 80,000 psi, iron is at 60,000 psi, and other constituents at 50,000 psi. The sum of these strengths is 260,000 psi. When these metals are melted together, their atoms array to form a chain whose strength is not only stronger than the weakest link, but stronger than the sum of all the tensile strengths as well. Chrome-nickel-steel has a tensile of about 350,000 psi. 

Similar synergy is available industrial production and likely increases with the number of people contributing.

Design Science - Toward a Peaceful Millennium
Design Science - Toward a Peaceful Millennium

Fuller also tells us the great story of alloys' eventual emergence through emergency into general industrial application:

Geodesic Bioship, industrial production concept prototypeWhen it comes to shelter, we must not ignore the synergetic advantage gained by many people contributing a complementary variety of special skills (industry) to make something, or many somethings (industrial production).  Industrial production can draw upon the resources of dozens of engineers, materials scientists, metallurgists, ecologists, biologists, botanists, entomologists, etc. The integration of myriad specialized knowledges could so well inform the design process that superbly advanced designs would become obsolete within a few years (witness personal computers). Advanced designs could incorporate reusable materials, such as alloys, that could be reformed into the new designs. New designs could be capable of withstanding tornados and hurricanes (Why not? Each day jetliners carry thousands of humans into sometimes turbulent winds whose speed relative to the jetliner is more than twice that of a hurricane). Individual lightweight dwelling parts could snap, fit, or bolt together in a manner lending itself to simple field assembly. In many cases the building could utilize local sun and wind energy income to heat, cool, and produce elegant and sophisticated power, solar electricity.

Actually, most of this was accomplished over 50 years ago by you know who. Fuller anticipated the drop in aircraft production that would occur after World War II, and hoped the war-enhanced production capacity could be shifted from production of weaponry toward production of livingry.  Beech aircraft got the point, and provided a design-build team of engineers to work with Fuller.  Utilizing state of the art metallurgy, lightweight but strong aircraft alloys, and wind tunnel design testing; they developed several prototype models of the Dymaxion House. No part weighted much over 10 pounds. Precision fit tolerances made it strong enough to be hurricane proof. The foundation was a central spring upon which the entire frame rested -- absorbing earthquake shock. The entire cost was no more than the current price of a new car, and Beech had over 5000 standing orders. But Fincap stepped in, this time in the form of special interest trade unions, who perceived their craft was threatened by any shift from craft to industrial production.  Humanity had to wait.

Will some set of emergencies release industrially produced housing more quickly, or will the already visible but slow emergence only gradually develop? Will events like Hurricane Mitch and Kossovo hasten it with sudden and huge demands for housing? According to Fuller the average time lag from the discovery of an effective new artifact or process to its deployment is less than one year in new industries like computers and aerospace, three years in aviation, five years in autos, and over 50 years in single family houses. The older the product, the more entrenched it is in the now obsolete, but still clinging, economic patterns of craft production, and the more difficult its transition to industrial crafting.

Design Science - Toward a Peaceful Millennium