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In July, 2011 I realized a vision that I have to build geodesic domes in places you might not expect.  I was invited to Barranca, Peru to build 3 Darwin domes - 1-36 foot diameter and 2- 24 foot diameter - along the Pacific Ocean.  It is about 200 miles north of Lima in a desert in which it Never rains!  The town of approximately 45,000 get their water from several rivers that originate in the Andes about 250 miles to the east.
One of the rivers was named Supe.  The site is located on 100 foot bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  The temperature in the winter months - June thru October range from 50 degrees at night to a pleasant 60 degrees in the day.  If there was rainfall here, it would be a tropical forest.  With water everything grows here.

The 3 domes were cut from Ratican Pine and the plywood was imported from Chile.  Since there is no wood locally, I had to ship it in along with shop tools...drill press, miter saws, table saws, and portable torq drills.  220 volts only!

I had an abandoned community college to set up a work shop.  It was built in the late 1960's, but terroists took it over before it ever opened.  It was retaken in a bloody hand to hand combat in the 70's with the Peruvian Army.  Bullet holes bear witness.  It never opened as a community college.  It was complete with blackboards on the walls.

With the help of local residents, I cut out and erected all three domes in 30 days.  I had shipped from the States enough HydroStop elastomeric coating for all 3 domes.  It was brushed on within 2 weeks after I returned to North Carolina.  (A slight overkill since it never rains there)  A cement floor has been poured in the 36 foot dome.

These domes will be used for a duckweed harvesting facility and for growing Tallapia.  They are part of an Eco Park involving waste treatment from Barranca.  Eventually there will be 60 such domes on site.   What a great project of which I will always appreciate my opportunity to participate.


Peru Trip
This dome was constructed in 2014 for use as the new Chia-yu Li Memorial Planetarium at A Time For Science in Grifton, NC. The dome was built in place and marked on the footing to obtain an absolute position. The dome was then lifted aside and the cement block wall was laid.

Then the dome was set back on the block wall to which if coincided perfectly. The dome was covered with 3/4" plywood and 3/4 inch insulation board. It was then painted with an elastimeric coating (Hydro-Stop). The inside walls were covered with waterproof sheetrock. 

34' Dome
Assembly
One neat feature of Darwin Domes is the use of wooden pegs (dowels) to connect the hubs to the struts.
The dome becomes self-supporting almost immediately during construction. In this photo, scaffolding is used to more easily connect the hubs and struts as the dome increases in height.
The dome can be used as its own scaffolding, but construction is simplified with a few stages of scaffolding.
Geometry on display as the dome nears completion
A dome constructed for display in Grifton, NC. These photos were taken over a two day period in which the dome was put together by two people. These pictures illustrate the basic phases during a dome's construction. This dome was erected from a pre-cut kit.
36' Dome
Assembly