By Alvin Wang and Brian Wang
Vote for the idea of Domed Cities at the GE Ecomagination competition
Over a series of articles (I will link in the other articles as they are written) we will be showing that dome cities can be made profitably and that they can provide energy efficiency and other benefits. This article provides some examples of large EFTE structures that provide climate control for the interior structures and current largest examples of geodesic domes. An EFTE Geodesic dome can probably be brought down to $3-5 million per acre in cost. However, even $10-20 million per acre domes can be very profitable. Domes can make buildings inside more economical by reducing the need to heat or cool them. The Dome themselves can leverage atmospheric and other effects to maintain constant internal climate and generate power. The domes can use vents and can have a large chimney for airflow and even more temperature control.
This proposed project combines and updates the EPCOT dreams of Walt Disney and the Geodesic domes of Buckminster Fuller with Masdar city scale proof of ground breaking sustainable technology. It is compatible with Jack Welch’s idea to be number one in whatever GE does. This will prove out city 2.0 tech for the next 2 billion urban inhabitants.
There are other model planned cities like Masdar city and dozens of green city project in China where entirely new cities are being made to prove out new designs and approaches. A model domed city would not have opposition from existing residents like any plan for a domed city over an existing city. Even small unique 5 acre domes like the Eden Project in the UK have significant tourism, but a dome with a one kilometer radius would be taller than the Burj Dubai and would have far more tourists. Epcot has about 11 million tourists each year.
The first dome should be designed for large events with the largest covered stages and auditoriums. China spent $44 billion on the 2008 Beijing Olympics and $45 billion on the 2010 Shanghai expo. Masdar City is a $22 billion project. A one kilometer tall domed city would be about $5-10 billion for a geodesic dome and some other unique structures. Extra should be spent in order to guarantee more revenue. Like the world Expo there should be partners and tenants for the internal pavillions.
The O2 (millenium ) dome is a 365 meters diameter dome structure that cost $1 billion and covers 26 acres. It houses O2’s Entertainment Avenue and arena. However, it is not the greatest tourist attraction in the world. The scale of this domed city proposal would make it a massive tourist attraction and a key piece of a regional development plan. – The Beijing Olympics had 5 million overseas tourists and 120 million domestic
– Shanghai expo is expecting 70-100 million tourists.
– Macau built up Casinos that are larger than the Strip in Las Vegas and has 20-30 million tourists per year and has about $15 billion per year in revenue.
As a spinoff, this project would develop and prove the construction techniques for a geodesic dome of this size and prove the energy efficiency benefits for the city domes that follow. Buildings inside would not need to have the extra costs for climate control or to worry about any storm damage as the dome can withstand any hurricane and other weather.
China’s thirty other planned city projects and Masdar city projects are also designed to prove out techniques that can be adapted to improve existing cities.
The Khan Shatyry entertainment center opened on July 5, 2010 in Astana, Kazakhstan. It is the tallest Tensile structure in the World and is mostly made of EFTE (the strongest teflon). The $400 million costs include the tent and 7 stories of facilities inside and a concrete base. It covers about 37 acres, so the cost is about $11 million per acre of buildings and tent cover.
The 150m-high (500 ft) tent has a 200m elliptical base covering 150,000 square meters. Underneath the tent, an area larger than 10 football stadiums, will be an urban-scale internal park, shopping and entertainment venue with squares and cobbled streets, a boating river, shopping centre, minigolf and indoor beach resort. The roof is constructed from ETFE suspended on a network of cables strung from a central spire. The transparent material allows sunlight through which, in conjunction with air heating and cooling systems is designed to maintain an internal temperature between 15-30°C in the main space and 19-24°C in the retail units, while outside the temperature varies between -35 to +35°C across the year
The Tacoma dome cost $44 million and is 530 ft (161.5 meters) across. It covers about 5 acres of area.
The Fantasy Entertainment Complex in Kyosho Isle, Japan is the largest geodesic dome with a diamater of 710 feet / 216 meters. This covers 395,919 square feet (9.09 acres)
Stepping up to 5 to 10 times Bigger
Five times the diameter of the Fantasy entertainment complex would be 1080 meters would have an area of 227.2 acres.
Ten times the diameter would be 2160 meters would have an area of 909 acres. Winooska Domed City Proposal from 1979 and Buckminster Fullers Dome over Manhattan Proposal
The Winooska dome could reduce residential heating bills alone by as much as 90%. Modern heating bills can average about $2000-4000 per year per house. 4000 houses would save about $10 million/year.
Tigan, now an associate professor of Community Development at the Clark University, disagrees. “Economically it [Winooska dome] is a slam dunk,” he said. The biggest issue, he believes, would be the public taking of land via eminent domain to secure the area around the edges.
In 1960, Buckminster Fuller proposed a 2 mile diameter geodesic dome over mid-town Manhattan.
EFTE is one hundred time lighter than Glass and can reduce costs by 4 times
ETFE comes in different finishes (transparent, matte) and colors, and can be lit from within using LED lights or decorated with light projections like a giant movie screen. It can be printed with patterns by running it through a special press—something not possible with glass. It can take myriad shapes, too: Strips can be heat-welded together like fabric squares in a quilt. This “sewing” method enables ETFE to be installed in pieces much longer and wider than glass. A large glass panel might measure 10 ft. by 5 ft., whereas a strip of ETFE could be 180 feet long and 12 feet wide, with structural supports.
It also scores well on the environmentally friendly front, particularly crucial given the current call for greener building practices. The film is recyclable (simply melt and reuse), and due to its light weight, doesn’t require much energy to transport. The Watercube (in China) is designed to gather heat passing through its ETFE walls and roof—energy that can be used to heat the building’s water systems or expelled through vents if the building gets too hot.
A geodesic dome using EFTE should be simpler and easier to construct.
It should be built as a new model city instead of over an existing city.
Epcot was a $1.4 billion facilty that was the dream city of the future for Walt Disney.
A new domed city would be a tourist attraction on the scale of Epcot and would enable new energy savings and prove out technologies for new cities. Transportation and construction would be revamped inside. China has 30 model cities in the 25,000-50,000 person range. Masdar city in Abu Dhabi is a $22 billion planned city.
Domed city can be made more affordably than ever and will enable a lower energy future. The first one will have massive tourism revenue. I will be following up with a series of articles that detail new ideas for construction and other aspects that will make it more affordable and profitable.
Center of the Dome will have a Hyperboloid Tower
This tower would be far cheaper and simpler than other tower proposals. The purpose would be to generate more tourism for elevator rides to restaurants and shops at the top of the tower that just overlook the dome. Also, the hollow center of the tower would take advantage of the stacking effect (chimney effect) to enable a lot of ventilation and air exchange when desirable.
Any tower inside the dome would be mostly shielded from cross winds, but would still need to withstand earthquakes.
A massive tower that is over a mile how can cost as much as X-seed proposal, which needs more technology than we have now and a filled out tower would need to have more tenants for the vastly larger amount of space. There was a proposal for a 1 mile tall pyramid like building (X-seed). It would cost $324-1 trillion dollars. It is Ok to have a big project but those are more likely to proceed with a good revenue stream. Will the big tower have good rents or tourism revenue or will the Dome city. I am indicating that I think the Domed City will. Would the mile high tower be that much more unique than the Al Burj Dubai ? Also, the plan which I have not fully described yet would to have a cheaper Guangzhou TV and siteseeing tower like structure in the center of the domed city.
Other buildings larger than the Burj Dubai are not getting funding. Except perhaps the milehigh tower. The burj Al Meel.
Kingdom Holding Company is still planning a mile high tower as is reviewing design bids despite the recent worldwide financial crisis. It is a currently estimated USD 13,300,000,000 project (13.3 billion dollar). The Mile High Tower could reach a height of 1,600 meters (one mile), the total built up area is 170,000 sq.m. The tower is part of the Kingdom City, a community development including residential units, commercial space, office area, education vicinity, entertainment facilities and hotels.
Temcor Aluminium Geodesic Domes up to 1000 Feet in Diameter
Temcor aluminum geodesic domes have been designed for snow loads of up to 165 pounds per square foot and windloads of up to 150 mph. And, Temcor’s panel design is specifically engineered to support loads of up to 500 pounds on any one square foot.
The Temcor Aluminum Dome is a unique and patented triangulated space truss skinned with aluminum panels secured by a patented Temcor batten closure system. Temcor has built 7000 domes it the several hundred feet to one thousand feet in diameter size range. With an ability to cover spans from 40 to more than 1000 feet, Temcor Aluminum Domes are specified for churches, arenas, planetariums and observatories… wherever clear-span roof systems are needed.
Temcor domes have withstood the heat of a Middle Eastern desert, typhoon winds of 300 kilometers per hour on a Pacific Island and uneven snow loads of 1,500 kilograms per square meter in the Antarctic.
NOTE: the conventional construction of the large (up to 1000 foot or 300 meter diameter) geodesic domes is with a tower about twice as tall as the final height of the dome. Hyperboloid tower of 612 meters in height was built for $324 million. It could make a geodesic dome 306 meters tall and over 1000 meters in diameter. A 1200 meter hyperboloid towers could probably be made for less than $1 billion, which would enable a 600 meter tall geodesic dome. They use the tower to lift the dome as it is being built. So all of the work happens at ground level for more speed and safety.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.