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Press Release: Second Detroit Dome to be Erected at Bioneers This Weekend!

October 11, 2010
Contact: Leeann Drees
Phone: 313.355.2009
email: leeann@detroitevolution.com

City’s second geodesic dome greenhouse structure will offer space for reflection at sustainability gathering.

Detroit, Michigan – October 11, 2010 – This weekend Detroit’s Marygrove College will host the fifth annual Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit conference. Billed as a “revolution from the heart of nature,” Bioneers is a yearly national event. The Detroit satellite conference features a plethora of locally-focused learnshops relating to sustainability, as well as streaming video plenary speeches from the national conference. These presentations feature acclaimed thinkers such as Michael Pollan and Dr. Andrew Weil, to name examples from previous years. This year’s conference will include Jane Goodall and Gary Hirshberg, among others.

This year the local conference will have something brand new, too: a 26′-diameter geodesic dome constructed by Detroit Domes, a self-defined “urban cottage industry up-start” seeded by Detroit Evolution, the North Corktown-based organization which has also helped create People’s Yoga Detroit and the Corktown Community Kitchen. The Bioneers dome will be a welcome addition to the conference and its raw, uncovered structure and encompassing vertices will serve as a space for reflection and as an expression of interconnection.

The idea to build geodesic domes in Detroit was born when Detroit Evolution co-founder Gregg Newsom and friends Andrew Newton and Donde Hardison began to share their fascination with geodesic domes and low-cost sustainable design with others. When Gregg’s farming neighbor Travis Roberts expressed his interest in innovative farming methods and his need of a structure for year-round growing, they teamed up to raise funds and in September a prototype GreenDome was quickly designed and constructed by a crew of friends and neighbors.

Detroit Domes recruited design assistance from the Mt. Elliott MakerSpace and displaced auto engineer Jay Harnish. The engineering team quickly designed a revolutionary appropriate technology dome connector while the rest of the team sought out Detroit-local material suppliers able to compete with big box store prices, and learned every step of dome fabrication and building. Detroit Domes is actively seeking funding and space to build an off-grid machine shop to fabricate domes and other structures, further their skills, and inspire further innovation at the block level by connecting with other community-minded organizations.

“Just as many of us have forgotten how to grow food, many have forgotten how to make/craft/build things” says Newsom, “Building domes and other alternative structures provides an opportunity to reconnect with practical skills that have been devalued and outsourced. While building the GreenDome we learned how to source local materials, measure, cut metal, drill, create systems, manage work flow and most importantly, to work as a team.”

Now that Detroit’s first GreenDome structure is up the Detroit Domes team is entering a second design phase and will continue to collaborate with Detroit-local techies, makers and farmers to develop low-cost sustainable approaches to appropriate-technology covering and off-grid heating of the dome. Travis’s goal is for his dome to provide year round space for chickens to graze on the ground and to grow food from the dome’s ceiling.

This prototype GreenDome is just the beginning for Detroit Domes, and urban agriculture represents only one of many potential applications of dome design. Domes also serve as a great space for community-gathering and -building, which will be shared at Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit. The dome will be located on the lawn between the theater and Madame Cadillac buildings on Marygrove’s beautiful campus .


About Detroit Evolution
– Detroit Evolution promotes sustainable practices, social and environmental justice through Seed Programs: Detroit Abides, the Corktown Community Kitchen, People’s Yoga Detroit and Detroit Domes. In addition to offering healthy local catering we present workshops and community focused events that assist in and inspire the co-creation of a resilient and relocalized Detroit. http://detroitevolution.com

About Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit – Bioneers comprise a network of visionary innovators working to build a sustainable, positive and creative future for the web of life. This year’s Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit Conference, held October 15-17 at Marygrove College, will combine local sessions, solutions and events with international innovations. http://www.glbd.org/

Detroit Domes actively promotes “off the map,” low-cost, sustainable tools, techniques and concepts in Detroit. http://detroitdomes.org

Travis, Andrew, Donde and Gregg are available for interviews or further information. Please contact Leeann Drees, Detroit Evolution’s Project Coordinator, at 313.316.1411

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