Geodome 4

New Vision New Landscape

The world's first tensegrity structured tent—OVAL INTENTION—was supervised by an exceptional inventor, Richard Buckminster Fuller, or otherwise known as “the 20th Century's Leonardo da Vinci.” THE NORTH FACE dome is adding a brand new history of the invention after 43 years of continuous evolution. Setting the ceiling higher has enabled a living space spacious enough to work while standing. Along with the newly implemented unique design, which is often associated with a spaceship, the addition of other functions, including but not limited to, the wire reinforcement which ensures wind resistant has been added. With Geodome 4, people will experience a perfect environment to enjoy the landscape like no one has ever experienced before. It is the dawn of a new era of outdoor activity.

Behind The Scene (The History of Dome)

Autumn of 1975, 2 pictures of an unfamiliar object were published on THE NORTH FACE catalog. The photos captured a hemisphere, composed of yellow and beige fabric, standing on a plain with a background of mountain ridges with snow. Around the object, 6 arc-shaped aluminum poles were arranged. At that time, there wasn’t a lot of people who could intuitively notice these object, called “Oval Intention,” because this product was an innovatively shaped tent which was created by unprecedented idea and design. Those who heavily contributed to the productization of the geodesic dome tent were three young staffs playing a central role at THE NORTH FACE: founder Kenneth “Hap” Klopp, product designer Mark Erickson, and chief of manufacturing Bruce Hamilton. They founded the brand a few years before of this invention and devoted most of their time to product innovation. During this period, they explored a new shape of a tent that would be able to replace an A-frame tent, which was considered mainstream at that time. If they could productize a tent, light and strong enough to put in a backpack and can offer spacious living space, they knew a lot of people would buy it for the new activity called “backpacking” which was starting to become popular the time. After countless trial and error, they finally found a breakthrough with the help of one great inventor, and together, they invented a new shaped mold-breaking tent. This tent has no vertical pillar. The general structure of the tent is held up by several vertical poles, but the oval intention uses an arc-shape bending shift pole for its framework. This design contributes to adding large space using fewer materials by also ensuring its strength. The inventors knew there were popular demands on both lighter and larger tents; thus, predicted a huge hit one there were able to make their product as planned. After a few years, their prediction became a reality and the productized oval intention became a big hit, deciding the future of their brand.
During the 1960s to ’70s, a phenomenon was rising mainly in North America. Dome shaped houses with the combination of poles and beams which are different from the general structure of the house started appearing in North America. During the 1960s various movements of protest actively occurred in different regions such as the Anti-Vietnam war movement, civil rights movement, the environmental protection movement, and women's liberation movement just to mention a few. Doubting the inconsistency and negative effects of the societal system, the youth created activist groups launching campaigns, fighting for what they think is right for the society. There were also a group of people who strived to rebuild their life from scratch by their own hands as a protest to the mass consumptionism. But those who got away from big cities and started a simple life in rural areas, where they can feel close to nature, struggled to find one thing - a shelter. Building a house not only takes funds and resources but also technical knowledge regarding architecture. People who had neither of them, however, started living in a dome-shaped architecture which was formulated by the genius inventor who attracted the public attention by his groundbreaking design ideas. This dome-shaped construction built up with several frameworks and simple materials were called the geodesic dome. This structural theory granted commodious living space with fewer materials and shorter construction period. For those who were willing to actively drop out from the societal system to live their own life, the geodesic dome was a gift from heaven. People started to build the dome with their own hands referred to articles about the dome from magazines and books, published in around 70’s. The dome-shaped house became a symbol of the new lifestyle and contributed to the new idea of “simple is more.” THE NORTH FACE’s dome tent was also created as a response to these movements, but the veneration to a great inventor and strong sympathy with his concept underlay behind the development of the new product. This inventor supervised the world’s first geodesic dome tent and has been called “the 20th century's Leonardo da Vinci,” - Richard Buckminster Fuller.
Richard Buckminster Fuller was born in 1895, as the oldest child of a successful foreign trade merchant in Milton, Massachusetts, Northern America. He was born with weak eyesight and this forced him to go through a rough childhood, but he had extraordinary ability to understand the physics of machines and tools. When he was 6 years old, he surprised adults around him by crafting a regular tetrahedron and a regular octahedron. After he got expelled from Harvard University, he served in the U.S. Navy and got a few jobs, but he failed to keep any of his job. Moreover, he almost took his own life because of the continuous misfortunes such as his daughter’s death. However, on the edge of this difficult period, he attained enlightenment, “one belongs to the universe: one does not have the right to eliminate himself.” After this epiphany, he decided to devote the rest of his life to benefit humanity. Based on the faith that “improvement of the world can only be realized by changing the human living environment,” he believed that the effective way to change “people who have none” to “people who own” is the industry, and has researched better housing environment applying the latest materials, design, mass production technique for people all over the world. What Fuller invented, which later became the foundation of his following activity, was the concept of “Dymaxion,” meaning ”maximum gain of advantage from minimal energy input.” In fact, the 4-D house was developed based on this concept. This housing model, which was constructed with the new material that was originally made for the non-architect purpose, is light, robust, and mass-producible. This model reflected Fuller’s idea of seeking independence and freedom was design to be transportable by an airplane, easy to assemble at the destination, and self-sufficient in energy and water. Fuller kept working based on the philosophy of Dymaxion, and proposed a various techniques as a solution: “Dymaxion car” an aerodynamic three-wheel automobile which realized astonishing drivability in the age of Ford Model T; “Dymaxion bathroom” which is the prototype of today’s modular bath; "Dymaxion map," a world map which flattens the entire land and sea with slight distortion and precise area ration; “Tensegrity sphere” as a tensional integrity, the concept of “Spaceship Earth"; and “World Game” as a way to solve world problems.

Buckminster Fuller’s likeness reproduced with the courtesy of The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller

Among numbers of techniques and inventions that Fuller had created, the most famous and commercially successful invention is the hemispherical structure named the “Geodesic dome.” “Geodesic” means a “line” which connects two points on a sphere. The geodesic dome is a spherical construction applied the stability of triangle shaped by these crossing lines. Fuller received this patent in the middle of 1950s and built both large and small domes. It is well-known that a sphere has the smallest surface area of all surfaces that encloses a given volume among the all geometrical objects. Fuller’s geodesic dome embodies the possibility of applying this theory into creating a living environment. He is also the one who made the world realized this structure’s remarkable lightness and strength feature through implementing this dome in a harsh environment such as the Antarctic Pole and the summit of Mount Fuji. It is said that more than two hundred thousand geodesic domes are built in the world. In 1976, the UK and Canada joined the Patagonia Expedition. The Oval Intention was employed as the base camp of this expedition. When the group encountered strong snowstorm (reportedly at least 200 km/h) the Oval Intention was the only tent that endured the storm and protected the members while the other traditional tents were blown away. This story is evidence that the concept of “maximum gain of advantage from minimal energy input” can function. In addition to the Oval Intention, Fuller also supervised the 2METER DOME which was sold from 1984. Fuller’s theory is also applied into this dome, and because of its recognized superiority, this product is still employed in various expeditions including the Himalayan expedition. While we inherit Fuller’s geodesic theory, we also fundamentally reconsidered its design of Geodome 4. Once you get inside of this commodious space, you will understand Fuller’s idea of “comfortable living environment contributes to happiness.” If you believe the principle of the universe and your intuition, the bright future surely comes true. This message, left by the great inventor, continues to evolve and live on around the globe.



    Icosidodecahedron is the name of a polyhedron with twenty triangular faces and twelve pentagonal faces. GEODOME 4 is designed based upon the space of this quasi-regular polyhedron. While this tent stands by itself with the poles arranged along to the side in an arc and the fabric, in strong wind, the tension network of wire functions as a wind resistant structure by distributing the wind power.

  • 2. Ceiling height 210cm (= 82.6 in)

    This is the minimum ceiling height required by the building standards. The reason why we focus on the general housing ceiling height instead of outdoor “nest” is that we are inspired by Fuller’s ideal lifestyle, “house should be movable to any location.” While existing tents can ensure the same height as the radius of its footprint, we actualized the higher ceiling by rising up the under of the hemisphere.


    What Fuller called the Dymaxion and applied into various invention including the 4D tower was the concept of ”maximum gain of advantage from minimal energy input.” Geodome 4 is designed to be able to make a space with six poles which is a half as much as the existing dome tent that needs many poles to ensure the intensity. This makes the product lighter and easier to set up.


    Fuller called the structure, which remains integrity by the interaction of the net of continuous tension and the discontinuous compression, the “tensional integrity.” Adjusting the tension is impossible for an amateur, since adding excessive tension reduces its intensity. Geodome 4 overcomes this tensegrity problem by a practical implementation idea and upgrade wind resistant. Geodome 4’s wire reinforcing structure on the pentagon surface is a result of the research of the tensegrity theory from the practical viewpoint.


    “Geodesic” means the shortest path connecting two points on a sphere or a curved surface. Among the geodesic which goes around the sphere, a spherical polyhedron composed of the great circle* is geodesic polyhedron and the basic shape of geodesic dome replaces its arcs with strings (line segments) and put them on the ground. This structure has high strength which makes the maximum space with a minimal surface. After Fuller received a patent on the regular dodecahedron shaped dome structure which is composed of line segments, he founded the Geodesic Dome Company and produced a number of geodesic domes.
    *Complete circle is the intersection of the sphere and a plane that passes through the center point of the sphere.


    In the book Operating Manual for Spaceship EARTH, published in 1963, Fuller compares the earth to a spaceship and proposed various solutions for the problems that human beings faced from the viewpoint of design and science. “There is plenty of resource and energy more than enough. It is just a matter of how to use. Using the technology which brings more gains from fewer inputs, we will recognize that deficiency just a facade. Change your mind. Push the limits of thinking.”


  • ◯ The unique structure that improves Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic structure and tensegrity theory.
  • ◯ 2.1 meters(= 6.9ft) ceiling height and comfortable living space. 4-person dome tent which realizes lightness and wind resistant.
  • 1. Spacious ceiling height which is enough for an adult to work comfortably while standing.

    By the rising up the under of the hemisphere (which is a unique design for dome tent), 2.1 meters(= 6.9ft) ceiling height is realized even this tent is for 4 people (3 meters(=9.8ft) in diameter). This design ensures spacious habitability.

  • 2. Compatibility of unique design and ease of assembly.

    1. Thread 5 poles through the sleeve. 2. Raise the tent in a dome shape. 3. Thread 6 poles through the sleeve along the equatorial line. Put a hook on a pole. Setting up the tent following the above steps, wires fixed to the tent in advance get tension and the center post rises vertically to the inner sheet. Consequently, the tent gets tension and entire wind resistant in strong wind.

  • 3. One hand portability and Compactness

    Reducing the number of poles to 6 and stretching around the tension structure, this tent gets endurance against even about 26m/s. Also, weight saving and structure rationality are realized by reducing the poles that support its own weight and making the network tension with replacement of the poles by the wire.

Geodome 4
Price 180,000JPY + tax

[Capacity] 4 person [Average weight] 11.07kg (= 24.41lbs) [Floor Size] 230×218cm (= 90.5 × 85.8in) [Floor Area] 4.12m2 (= 44.3Ft²) [Height] 210cm (= 82.6 in) [Number of entrance] 1 [Number of pole] 6 [Stuffsack size] 73×26cm (= 28.7 × 10.2in) [Material] Canopy / 75D Ripstop polyester Floor / 150D Polyester Ox 10,000mm PU Coating Fly Sheet /75D Polyester taffeta1,500mm PU Coating [Country of origin] China [FEATURES] New geodesic dome tent which incorporates ceiling height over the hemisphere and unique wire structure. • The spherical dome which can be set up with 6 poles. • 6 points wire structure that strengthens the intensity • 2.1 meters(= 6.9ft) ceiling height for stress-free activity • Nonagon high water-resistant bathtub structured floor • 5 windows with mesh • 4 removable organizer which can use individually • 5 mesh pockets • 2 top ventilation window with quick open function • Hanging liner code with tensioner • Full-seemed fly sheet • Large duffel style stuff sack • DAC Stake • Guideline

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