Bart Ellenbroek

Building a geodesic dome

My experiences during my third week at Mediamatic

Exploring the possibilities of a geodesic dome built from mycelium.


GeodesicDomeV2Model - V2 Geodesic dome model Paper, crepe tape and split pens.  


Monday was petcha kutcha night. All new interns introduced themselves once more using a petcha kutcha presentation. It was nice to hear everyone’s interests and get to know my colleagues even better.

On tuesday i visited Makerversity, Olivier gave me a tour through the offices and workshops. Makerversity is an amazing place with a lot of equipment. I am planning on using some of their machines to realize my projects.

I had a meeting with Kyliaen Rijsenburg on Friday, he is a friend of mine who studies biology at the University of Wageningen. I showed him the lab and he showed me how to work with some lab equipment. We brainstormed together on interesting things to test and he used his university’s library to find me some interesting articles about mycelium. We ordered some of the articles, i expect to get them later this week.

We did an open lab again during the re-opening of the Dijkspark on Saturday. There were a lot of people visiting the clean lab, almost all of them leaving very enthousiastic after an explanation about what we do and why we do it. During the open lab Lewis came by, a friend from school. He told me he was interested in working with mycelium. He is working on a project for the coming 4 months (same time as my internship) where he wants to explore the possibilities of mycelium materials and apply the material in a product. I would like to work together with him in the clean lab, so i planned a meeting with Lewis and Willem on tuesday.

During this week Willem told me about his idea of building a geodesic dome from mycelium. This dome won’t have any particular use, it’s a way of showing the possibilities of mycelium materials to the public. Though, the dome could be used for taking naps in a silent and peacefull environment. It could be cheap shelter for the homeless or developing countries, but those are concepts that need a lot more developing of the material. For now we are just experimenting with the building abilities of mycelium composites.
I will have built a geodesic dome at the end of my internship.
Problems to tackle are: Size of the dome, frequency of the dome structure, connection of ribs and panels, ideal thickness and shape of mycelium panels, ideal growing circumstances for the panels and strenght of the structure.

Geodesic domes come in different frequencies. A higher frequency gives the possibility to make a bigger dome with smaller ribs and get a more rounded dome. On the other hand it means your dome consists of more pieces (ribs and connection points). I’m going to do some research on different frequencies to find the best one for this project.