The History of Geometrica

We've been building domes and barrel vaults since 1992... but our roots go much further back.


The Visionary

R. Buckminster Fuller embodied "the geometry of thinking." He conceived of nature as the starting point for man's ingenuity, and his influence extends far beyond architecture.

Note that as a conceptual pioneer, Buckminster Fuller worked without the benefits, or the restrictions, of rigorous structural theories. He designed the Geodesic Dome by combining two basic shapes: the sphere, for efficiency, and the tetrahedron, for strength. Using a metallic skeleton of interlocking triangles to frame his construction, he created lightweight spherical structures of remarkable strength and stability.

In following years, scientists in other fields perceived that the pattern Fuller devised to construct his dome existed in the designs of cells and chemical compounds.

The Innovator

In the late 1950s, Arthur Fentiman devised a metal connector that infinitely expanded the possibilities of dome construction and supporting wide expanses without using beams. His innovation took Fuller's circular Geodesic form of complex of triangles to another level.

Each apex of interlocking metallic triangles is a critical convergence of structural forces and moments. Traditional bolted and welded connections are either costly, inefficient or unreliable.

Fentiman's design dovetails the end of a tube element into a matching connector. Material is displaced, not removed. End-angles of tubes can vary, opening the door for freedom of shape.

Geometrica has improved on Fentiman's original idea by optimizing the connector's engagement patterns, resulting in full transmission of the tube material strength through the joint.



The Engineer

It was Dr. Douglas Wright who analyzed Fuller's designs and formalized the theories for the safe construction of metal domes.

Dr. Wright was able to apply his space frame theories to the challenging designs of a number of large domed structures -- at a time before computers with the capability of modeling three dimensional structures were widely available.

Dr. Wright contributed his skills to the realization of such impressive buildings as Mexico City's Sports Palace, as well as the Skydome and the remarkable structures at Ontario Place in Toronto.

Dr. Wright is a founding director of Geometrica.

The Builder

A Mexican engineer who initially specialized in building concrete shells, Francisco Castaño Sr. was first to realize the potential for enlarging the size of domed structures using Arthur Fentiman's unique connector.

Castaño introduced the use of the Fentiman connector in long span applications, gaining economies and flexibility. Castaño and his firm built the first metallic shells that deviated from the Geodesic sphere, introducing hyperbolic and elliptical paraboloids, and free-style structures. The work he completed from the 1960s to the 1980s was groundbreaking.

Castaño and Douglas Wright collaborated for many years, creating a body of work that remains the standard for originality, integrity and applicability in dome design and construction.