July 3, 2006 6:00 AM PDT

Geodesic domes: 'Doing more with less'

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The biggest the company has crafted is a 120-foot structure it built for a festival in Portugal. It has also built at least one 90-footer.

The company started in 1980 after Deliverance had been living in a monastery and built a rudimentary dome using Fuller's geometry because she needed a place to live.

"If a hurricane hits an area, the only thing left are domes."
--Asha Deliverance, co-founder, Pacific Domes

Quickly, she learned that others wanted them. So she ended up building a dozen. That turned into a business.

Flash forward to 2005 and the devastated Gulf Coast region, where relief workers in Biloxi, Miss., and in an area of New Orleans were using domes donated by the company as distribution centers for food and equipment.

Although making a home out of a geodesic dome can be inexpensive compared with building a traditional house, the structures are hardly cheap.

A 30-foot dome with cover can run as high as $16,100. A 44-footer is much more, at $31,600.

The company, which appears to be far and away the leader in the United States when it comes to building and selling geodesic domes, makes just three a week. So to give several away certainly took a chunk out of its bottom line.

"Even FEMA and the Red Cross ended up in our domes," she said. "We donated them for free, and it almost sunk our business because we wanted to help."

Deliverance thinks domes could be useful in areas likely to encounter hurricanes.

"If a hurricane hits an area, the only thing left are domes," she said, adding that the structures, when used with the proper tubing and staked down properly, can withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure per square inch from, say, snow accumulation or wind.

Meanwhile, as Pacific Domes continues as the leading purveyor of Fuller's creation to people desiring them for personal use, the company also regularly rents them--for rather fantastic sums of money--to companies and productions as diverse as Mars (which showcased its M&Ms brand with a bunch of domes colored to look like the tiny candies), the "Survivor" television series, Volkswagen, the Golden Globes and DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes.

But the mainstay of the business seems to be its consumer sales. In this regard, it's notable that Pacific Domes has stayed in Ashland rather than moving its operations overseas. Deliverance said she has gotten offers from companies in countries like China to build the domes there, but said she wants to remain an American company.

That, however, cuts into the company's profit margin. Deliverance said she isn't making much more per dome now than she did when the company was much smaller.

Still, her 20 employees are clearly the vanguard for what some people might not even recognize as an architectural movement. But with dome kits that can result in attractive and comfortable housing for a fraction of the price of a typical house, it's likely that we will see more geodesics.

There are a number of other companies that sell domes. Almost all sell completed dome homes, while Pacific Domes focuses on kits with frames that buyers must assemble themselves. But the company is likely to face more direct competition if one of her employees succeeds in opening his own geodesic business. In fact, she mentioned, that employee is the very one who saved me and my friends' bacon at Burning Man in 2000. So I can only give him my blessing.

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15 comments

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"This being 2000 and pre-recession..."
Sorry to burst your bubble (Oh, wait, Greenspan did that already!), but we were in a recession in 2000 --at least according to most economists. We were emerging from that recession in 2001 but then got sidetrack for a short time by that pesky 9-11 thing. Sort of a burning man of a third kind....
Posted by hardedge (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
well
if it was at the begining or so you never know a recession is a recession until after the fact so for many fortunes did no dissapate until later. I live in Seattle and you could see it was the homes by the lakes went up for sale all the same time.
Posted by chuchucuhi (233 comments )
Link Flag
"This being 2000 and pre-recession..."
Sorry to burst your bubble (Oh, wait, Greenspan did that already!), but we were in a recession in 2000 --at least according to most economists. We were emerging from that recession in 2001 but then got sidetrack for a short time by that pesky 9-11 thing. Sort of a burning man of a third kind....
Posted by hardedge (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
well
if it was at the begining or so you never know a recession is a recession until after the fact so for many fortunes did no dissapate until later. I live in Seattle and you could see it was the homes by the lakes went up for sale all the same time.
Posted by chuchucuhi (233 comments )
Link Flag
I want one
These look cool.
Posted by (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I want one
These look cool.
Posted by (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Build your own dome home
Timberline Geodesic Domes
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.domehome.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.domehome.com/</a>
Posted by Get_Bent (534 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Build your own dome home
Timberline Geodesic Domes
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.domehome.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.domehome.com/</a>
Posted by Get_Bent (534 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Speaking less does more !
Dear Daniel ! Well, I'm glad I could help you back at
Burning Man and yes I still lay around at night connecting
stars with struts and have been at Burning Man 10 years
now. Hope to see you there. Asha sure changed the story to
her benefit. Pacific Domes didn't build a 90 ft or 120 ft
dome. It's all ego drivin' greed for wealth and false
recognition. A tent is a tent,it's still just a tent. That's why I
left them long ago. I now work with kind friends building
domes for events and good causes. My Company is
Domeseurope.com. based worldwide. Our prices are much
more realistic for burners and others. It's all good. Hope to
run into you again. Johan the Domeguy
Posted by Johanziems (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pacific Domes
Oh Dearest "Johan the Domeguy!!!
One could question the definition of "EGO"...
"[an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others
self: your consciousness of your own identity]"
Shall we all consider how many years we have been a part of Burning Man... to DEFINE?
Pacific Domes, and Asha Deliverence, has and will continue to be an amazing company! Built and nurtured, not economicly, on the idea that there is a better way.
Charitably and with the idea of "doing the next best thing in front of you".
Building, creating, and having a model. A model for what one believes could, and has made a difference.
One could, and maybe should, go on and on about the way some judge ohthers.... especially when they are all in their "ego".
Blessings to Pacific Domes! Blessings to all that have worked so hard to create, and support the next best thing in front of them.
Blessings to you Johan,
K
Oh and couldn't leave this out.... the 90ft and 120ft have been done!!!
Posted by KimberlyDare (2 comments )
Link Flag
Speaking less does more !
Dear Daniel ! Well, I'm glad I could help you back at
Burning Man and yes I still lay around at night connecting
stars with struts and have been at Burning Man 10 years
now. Hope to see you there. Asha sure changed the story to
her benefit. Pacific Domes didn't build a 90 ft or 120 ft
dome. It's all ego drivin' greed for wealth and false
recognition. A tent is a tent,it's still just a tent. That's why I
left them long ago. I now work with kind friends building
domes for events and good causes. My Company is
Domeseurope.com. based worldwide. Our prices are much
more realistic for burners and others. It's all good. Hope to
run into you again. Johan the Domeguy
Posted by Johanziems (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pacific Domes
Oh Dearest "Johan the Domeguy!!!
One could question the definition of "EGO"...
"[an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others
self: your consciousness of your own identity]"
Shall we all consider how many years we have been a part of Burning Man... to DEFINE?
Pacific Domes, and Asha Deliverence, has and will continue to be an amazing company! Built and nurtured, not economicly, on the idea that there is a better way.
Charitably and with the idea of "doing the next best thing in front of you".
Building, creating, and having a model. A model for what one believes could, and has made a difference.
One could, and maybe should, go on and on about the way some judge ohthers.... especially when they are all in their "ego".
Blessings to Pacific Domes! Blessings to all that have worked so hard to create, and support the next best thing in front of them.
Blessings to you Johan,
K
Oh and couldn't leave this out.... the 90ft and 120ft have been done!!!
Posted by KimberlyDare (2 comments )
Link Flag
The way i have seen it is Asha w/ Pacific Domes have been care giving many events through out the world, in most cases benevolently.

I hear they have just sent a dozen 40' domes to Haiti for FREE to be used as emergency medical facilities. (match that Johan the X-Dome guy)

Asha is a universal humanitarian and comes from a conscience & moral heart space. I have met her in person and can vouch for this good medicine women character. I stand with many in support for Pacific Domes and their ethical & humanitarian efforts.
Posted by DustinReddusk (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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