The Botanical Geodesic

Heliopoli_Full_EX67Needless to say, no foliage planned or planted in the city of Heliopoli survives to this day … almost.

There is evidence of plazas and parks in which trees and shrubs figure prominently. There were boulevards of trees planned for the city. Trees are highly evident in The Poster. Greenery was to be an important component to life in the city, but it couldn’t survive being buried in the desert sand. There is, however, the matter of the recently discovered Botanical Geodesic.

According to Wikipedia, a geodesic dome is an almost spherical shell structure based on a network of great circles (geodesics) lying on the surface of a sphere. The geodesics intersect to form triangular elements that distribute stress across the entire structure. When completed to form a full sphere, it is known as a geodesic sphere.

Though not the original inventor, R. Buckminster Fuller investigated the concept of this design and named the dome “geodesic” from field experiments with Kenneth Snelson and others at Black Mountain College in the late 1940s. He popularized the idea and received a U.S. patent.

The geodesic dome appealed to Fuller because it was extremely strong for its weight and because a sphere encloses the greatest volume for the least surface area. Fuller had hopes that the geodesic dome would help address the postwar housing crisis.

The Botanical Geodesic of Heliopoli is a geodesic oasis. Plants and flowers have survived here, flourishing, protected in their sphere. There is something to be said for a strong, jewel-like structure, geometric and protective, transparent, a dissipater of stress.

Because Heliopoli was constructed in the 1970s, there is an inordinate amount of marigolds and spider plants within, but that’s OK.


2 thoughts on “The Botanical Geodesic

  1. Very cool. Canada certainly seems to embrace this kind of architecture. The next World Science Fiction Convention will take place next August in Montreal. I really should plan to attend. It’s a city I’d like to visit.

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