The California company Geoship has generated nearly $400,000 from 583 investors in a crowdfunding campaign to cultivate a new variety of residential housing: economical, resilient, modular, ecofriendly, and long-standing. The muse for the project is Buckminster Fuller, the architect and futurist who made the geodesic dome popular.
The invention behind this building design project is Bioceramic, the material that goes into the coating of hip and knee joint replacements and is discovered in NFL quarterback Tom Brady’s TB12 “recovery sleepwear” apparel.
Bioceramic CEO Morgan Bierschenk says that when Buckminster Fuller was constructing building domes in the sixties and seventies, he referred to them as wooden spaceships. He predicted that it would be a half century to a century until the appropriate material sciences were developed to create geodesic domes.
He believes that bioceramic is the perfect material for the task.
A new variety of chemically-bonded ceramic that forms powerful molecular bonds such as a polymer, Bioceramic holds the property that renders cement such a powerful building material: the ability to be mixed into a slurry and poured into a mold sans high heat. That property makes this novel building material inexpensive and ecofriendly to manufacture, while rendering it far stronger than concrete.
The firm’s first bioceramic residential project is a permanent geodesic homeless village in Las Vegas; a village established in partnership with Zappos, the Amazon retailer.
Lower cost and modularity are two key characteristics of this project. Anyone in need of a larger home can add a dome, by connecting the addition to your main dome.
And the price is economical. Geoship estimates an all-inclusive cost for one dome home to fall between $45,000 to $230,000. With on-site assembly included, that equals about $130-$160 per square foot, Bierschenk says, including electrical fixtures, household appliances, cabinets, HVAC, etc.
Ranking among the home’s main advantages is ecological benefit. Bierschenk said that the embodied energy calculations of traditional construction ranks between 80 and 300 tons of embodied CO2 in a standard wood house. The embodied CO2 in a bioceramic dome ranks in the three to 10-ton range and is possibly negative when you cure the panels in CO2-rich environments.
That’s about 30 times less carbon than the traditional model; also consider the anticipated 500-year lifespan of the building.
Now this is living.