Architect: The Student Greenhouse Project (Exterior Dome by Geometrica)
Location: East Lansing, Michigan. United States
The Student Greenhouse Project is a nonprofit and student organization working to build the Biodome: an immersive tropical oasis in an iconic structure. The Biodome will trailblaze the overlap of nature and sustainable design in a center that engages and transforms the East Lansing, MI community. This premier landmark will become a living student legacy that builds on the region’s agricultural heritage while showcasing the latest in sustainable design and green technology.
Modern principles of conservatory interior design seek to maximize the experience of the interior space by increasing the dynamic range of height utilized by contouring. The highs and lows of the
contouring create terrain features that are recognizable places, the pond, cliff, canyon, upper falls, etc. Distinctive places within an environment produce an impression of depth and extent. The interior of the Biodome also ’tilts’ the interior space toward the sun, the southern edge dips downward and then rises toward the north, effectively increasing the floor space. The present
design is patterned to reproduce the features of a tropical valley.
The Biodome will feature:
150′ across and 75′ tall with a completely column-free interior for a natural outdoor feel.
14′ waterfall cascading into a stream and pond, sparkling and full of life.
Performance area with accompanying hillside seating.
Open garden areas with tables and chairs dispersed throughout.
Multiple internal buildings including a study lounge and conference room for visitors.
A fully-developed tree canopy with the understory and layering of a real forest.
Scenic overlooks provide visitors a place to take in the sights and sounds.
Full interior WiFi coverage maximizes work space productivity.
Sustainable engineering components:
Transparent glass solar panels provide power and summer shading
Bio-evaporative cooling and solar thermal absorption mass stabilizes temperature.
Insulated open concrete foundation passively balances pH and Na+.
Low-energy climate control system is driven by natural temperature convection.
Grey water processing for aquatic system recharge balances evaporation.
Durable glass and aluminum structure with corrosion-free stainless steel fasteners increases facility lifetime.
A geodesic dome provides the most natural outdoor environment achievable in a structure because it is a free span construction. This means there are no columns or internal roof supports taking up space or distracting the eye and reminding the viewer they are in a building. Once inside, the clear walls go almost straight up, out of sight, out of mind. The 75′ apex provides plenty of height to grow a forest canopy. The hemispheric dome has the maximum structural stability because there are no corners or edges where stresses occur and the structure’s weight is evenly distributed, pressing directly down, eliminating any spreading forces on the foundation.
When completed, the Biodome will not only showcase the application of sustainable technology, but it will provide a testing ground for companies to trial the most advanced engineering solutions to society’s most pressing problems.The Student Greenhouse’s Biodome could enhance the physical health, mental health and personal well-being of students and members of the public. Plants and greenery contribute to job satisfaction and community quality of life. Having a view of nature can affect the course of hospital stays and even the condition of prison inmates. The studies are numerous and range from national inquiries to many investigations conducted here in Michigan.
Our mission is to inspire and transform people to live more satisfying, creative and sustainable lifestyles. We are building the Biodome: a year-round tropical paradise with curving paths and beautiful waterfalls, teeming with lush plants. It’s the result of years of iterative design, with the goal of creating the most advanced tropical greenhouse in the world.