Dome house: comprehensive guide to energy efficiency, history, benefits and construction

Dome houses are not only a masterpiece of design and sustainability, but a real gem in terms of energy efficiency. Learn the history, advantages, disadvantages and how to build a domed house with this comprehensive guide.


3/5/20245 min read

The magic of domed houses


Dome houses, or geodesic domes, captivate the imagination with their singular shape and the many advantages they offer. Immersed in nature like organic creatures, these dwellings are not only a masterpiece of bioclimatic architecture, but a true lifestyle of comfort, energy efficiency and sustainability.

A design that defies convention:

Dome houses are distinctly different from traditional dwellings. Their spherical shape, inspired by the sacred geometries of nature, provides ample interior space with a small footprint on the ground.

A microcosm of comfort:

Inside a domed house, there is a unique atmosphere. The ovoid shape promotes an even distribution of heat and sound, creating a cozy and relaxing environment. An abundance of natural light from the large windows makes the spaces bright and vital.

A step toward sustainability:

Dome houses blend harmoniously with their surroundings. The use of environmentally friendly materials, solar orientation and implementation of renewable energy systems make them a virtuous example of sustainable architecture.

A dream come true:

Building a dome house is not just a construction project, but an exciting adventure. From the early planning stages to the choice of materials to the actual construction, every step is an opportunity to express your creativity and realize the home of your dreams.

The history of the domed house: a fascinating journey

Dome houses, fascinating for their unique shape and numerous advantages in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability, boast a history spanning thousands of years and spanning different cultures and continents.

From ancient civilizations to modern experiments:

  • Early domes: The earliest evidence of domed houses dates back to the fourth millennium B.C. in Mesopotamia, with the construction of mud-brick tholos.

  • The apogee in the Roman Empire: Roman architecture perfected the construction technique of domes, producing impressive buildings such as the Pantheon in Rome.

  • The Middle Ages and the Renaissance: In Europe, domes continued to be used for churches and cathedrals, with iconic examples such as Brunelleschi's dome in Florence.

  • The Nineteenth Century and the emergence of geodesic greenhouses: In the nineteenth century, German engineer Karl Friedrich Schinkel devised the geodesic structure, which was used for the construction of greenhouses and pavilions.

  • The twentieth century and the advent of modern domed houses: In the twentieth century, American architect Buckminster Fuller developed the geodesic dome as an efficient and versatile construction system, paving the way for modern domed houses.

Materials and construction techniques:

  • Traditional materials: Unbaked brick, stone, wood, and brick have been the materials used for domes throughout history.

  • Modern materials: Steel, reinforced concrete and glass are the most commonly used materials for modern dome houses.

  • Construction techniques: Construction techniques have evolved over time from traditional systems to advanced technologies such as prefabrication.

Advantages and disadvantages of domed houses:


  • Energy efficiency: The dome shape reduces the dispersing surface area, promoting thermal insulation and lower energy consumption.

  • Sustainability: Dome houses can be made of environmentally friendly materials and blend harmoniously with the environment.

  • Weather resistance: The aerodynamic shape of the dome makes it resistant to strong winds and snow loads.

  • Excellent acoustics: The inner shape of the dome promotes even sound diffusion.

  • Unique and versatile design: Dome houses offer a wide freedom of design and customization.


  • Construction costs: Construction costs for a dome house can be higher than for a traditional home.

  • Design difficulties: Designing a domed house requires specific skills and dedicated design software.

  • Lighting and ventilation problems: The lack of traditional windows may require specific lighting and ventilation solutions.

Examples of iconic domed houses:

  • Buckminster Fuller's house: Fuller's geodesic dome in Illinois is an iconic example of bioclimatic architecture.

  • Disney World's Epcot: The giant golf-ball-like geosphere that has become the symbol of the theme park.

  • The Dome House Project: A project in Italy that promotes the construction of environmentally sustainable dome houses.

Energy saving: the hidden gem of domed houses

Dome houses are not only a masterpiece of design and sustainability, but also a real gem in terms of energy conservation. Their spherical shape, combined with the use of insulating materials and solar orientation, makes it possible to drastically reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling.

Secrets of energy efficiency:

  • Compact shape: The spherical shape of the dome provides the least amount of dispersing surface area relative to the internal volume. This means there is less surface area in contact with outside air, reducing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.

  • Insulating materials: Dome houses are made with high-quality insulating materials, such as sandwich panels or straw bales. These materials prevent heat from passing through, creating a barrier against outside temperatures.

  • Solar orientation: Dome houses can be oriented to make maximum use of solar energy. Large south-facing windows capture the sun's heat in winter, while in summer roof overhangs create shade and help keep the house cool.

  • Renewable energy systems: Installing solar or photovoltaic panels can achieve energy self-sufficiency and further reduce the cost of running a home.

Benefits of energy conservation:

  • Cost reduction: Energy savings result in lower utility bills, significantly benefiting your wallet.

  • Lower environmental impact: Reducing energy consumption also means reducing CO2 emissions and the environmental impact of your home.

  • Living comfort: A well-insulated home with an efficient heating/cooling system provides superior living comfort, with consistent and pleasant indoor temperatures throughout the year.

Tips for improving the energy efficiency of your domed house:

  • Choose high-quality insulation materials.

  • Install window shading systems.

  • Use energy-efficient appliances.

  • Adopt good consumption habits, such as turning off lights when you leave a room and not leaving electronic appliances on standby.

Building a dome house: complete guide

Dome houses, or geodesic domes, fascinate with their unique aesthetics and numerous energy efficiency and sustainability benefits. If you would like to build a dome house, here is a comprehensive guide that will take you through every step of the process.

Step 1: Design

  • Defining the diameter: The choice of diameter determines the living area and height of the dome.

  • Choice of materials: Wood, steel, aluminum and bamboo are the most commonly used materials for the structure. Insulated panels, tiles, or other waterproof materials can be used for the exterior cladding.

  • Calculation of structural loads: It is essential to rely on an engineer or architect to calculate the forces acting on the dome and to choose the cross section of structural components.

  • Design software: There is specific software for geodesic dome design that facilitates the process and ensures proper execution of the design.

Step 2: Construction

  • Foundation: The foundation must be appropriate for the type of soil and weight of the dome.

  • Frame: The frame is the framework of the dome and is made by assembling the various structural components.

  • Cladding: The outer cladding must be waterproof and insulated to ensure thermal insulation and waterproofing of the dome.

  • Installation of systems: The electrical, water and heating/cooling system must be integrated into the structure during the construction phase.

Phase 3: Finishes

  • Interior: Interior walls can be finished with plaster, wood panels or other materials according to preference.

  • Flooring: Flooring can be made of wood, stone, ceramic or other durable materials.

  • Windows and doors: Windows and doors should be energy efficient to reduce heat loss.


Dome houses are not just an alternative to traditional housing, but a true way of life. Immersed in nature like organic creatures, these dwellings offer a unique living experience of comfort, energy efficiency and sustainability.

A dream come true:

Building a dome house is not just a construction project, but an exciting adventure. From the early planning stages to the choice of materials to the actual construction, every step is an opportunity to express your creativity and realize the home of your dreams.

A call to action:

If you are fascinated by the appeal of these unique dwellings and are looking for a comfortable, efficient, and sustainable home, this article has provided you with a comprehensive overview of the benefits, features, and steps needed to build your own domed home.

Don't hesitate to dream big and make your dream a reality!

Video demonstration of the benefits of the geodesic dome