House That? Dome-icile

Constructed of three connecting geodesic domes, the home of Rob Thompson and his children causes Trafford Road passersby to slow or stop to take in the futuristic drama.

Rising from a picturesque Murrysville hillside is a house with a “wow” factor. Constructed of three connecting geodesic domes, the home of Rob Thompson and his teenage children, Laurie and Rick, causes Trafford Road passersby to slow or stop to take in the futuristic drama.

Seeing the home from the outside makes you wonder what the10,000 sq. ft. space inside must bring. And “space” is the key word. Inside, particularly in the living-room area, the walls soar upward toward the rounded top, creating an airy exhilaration.

Thompson has long been a fan of R. Buckminster Fuller, designer of the dome, and always hoped to live in a dome-shaped house. He spent years in the planning and finally built his dream home in 2005, working with Natural Spaces Domes in Minnesota. The result is a structure that’s not only unusual to look at (and be in), but also strong and energy-efficient.

Constructed of 2-foot-thick fiberglass walls, the home achieves extremely low winter heating bills, thanks to deep-well hydronic heating under the floors and south-facing windows (almost all of which are triangular) for solar gain. An indoor pool, greenhouse (Thomson starts his vegetables in February) and common geodesic dome features, like spiral staircases and cupolas that provide 360-degree outdoor views, are part of the mix—as are the highly anticipated reactions of visitors.

“Some people love it, and some hate it,” Thompson says. “Some people just like smaller rooms, but most people walk in and love the spaciousness—just like we do.”

Categories: HOME + Design