Time To Upgrade The BioDome Again

Time To Upgrade The BioDome Again
Time To Upgrade The BioDome Again

Despite what you might think, this is actually a planning document to understand if the biodome and the rainbow pavilion can occupy the same space at Mezzacello. According to my calculations it can. It’s time to upgrade the BioDome again.

I was also watching a program on dinosaur adaptation and it also captured my imagination. So I started drawing, and drawing and drawing more (24 iterations and two straw and pipe cleaner models). Think Close Encounters of the Third Kind obsession.

This level of obsession. (Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

An Idea For a Long Time

This will be my third year engineering the functionality of the biodome. But the idea of combining a steel pavilion and a geodesic dome is actually pretty old for me. I have been designing this in my mind for my whole adult life.

I am intimidated by three things:

  1. The geometry of the dome and the combo of pentagons and hexagons
  2. The base that raises the dome to adult human height
  3. How can I keep this in the same space as my current classroom space at Mezzacello?
Don’t forget to design a door! Don’t forget that base will roll back under!

This time I will be building the biodome underneath the steel rainbow pergola. The pergola and the dome are similar sizes. The dome is righter than the square as it’s corners stick out just a few centimeters.

Taking down the pergola is just as hard as taking down or building the biodome. So this year, I will just leave the pergola in place and remove the pergola awning. This will allow me to expand the dome functionality in three important ways:

  1. I can add an extra layer of insulative material if the weather drops too low
  2. I can add solar panels and a wind turbine to the steel pergola to power the biodome
  3. I can expand the ways I use this area in programming and functionality

This quick little gallery is the two days I spent trying to balance 90kg (200lbs) of steel beneath a steel pergola. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but rope is a poor choice. Finally a friend pulled one side into place so I could fasten the last piece and create a door.

I am curious what the rainbow pergola will be like with the biodome in place all year long. I don’t have the luxury of keeping the dome or classroom pergola where they are. Phase III of Mezzacello requires that space for a porch, a classroom and a kitchen extension.

I already know from my previous three years that the biodome is not an all-year solution. Those were the first two failures. Now I can design an easily removable plastic welded clear dome cover with Nd (magnetic) couplings.

I already know I cannot use the covered biodome in the summer as it is impossible for life (super hot) and expensive to cool. Perhaps the pergola tarp and power will allow me to keep the dome on all year long? We will see.

This is a part of the City of Columbus Parks and Recreation Summer Grant Grant #1521-2023.

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