Of all known structures, a geodesic dome has the highest ratio of enclosed area to weight. Geodesic domes are far stronger as units than the individual struts would suggest. It is common for a new dome to reach a "critical mass" during construction, shift slightly, and lift any attached scaffolding from the ground.
Geodesic domes are designed by taking a Platonic solid, such as an icosahedron, and then filling each face with a regular pattern of triangles bulged out so that their vertices lie in the surface of a sphere. The trick is that the sub-pattern of triangles should create "geodesics", great circles to distribute stress across the structure.
There is good reason to believe that geodesic construction can be effectively extended to any shape, although it works best in shapes that lack corners to concentrate stress.
An early example of a geodesic dome was the 1913 planetarium dome at the Carl Zeiss plant in Jena, Germany. However, the most famous individual to be associated with geodesic domes was Buckminster Fuller, who popularized them in the 1940s in line with his "synergetic" thinking.