tool of a parametric generative dome design


CICERO is a PhD research project, hosted in FA/UTL.
It aims to facilitate the virtual modeling creation of earthbag architecture.

The main goal of this phase is to build a computational model, able to generate and control the earthbag dome parameters. The next step is export the model to be able also to work in BIM environment, making it easier do interconnect different constructive techniques. And the last one is to make some studies of scaled model in 3Dprinters.

Keywords: Earthbag, Superadobe, earth construction, generative design.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of CNPQ (National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development).

Meet The Team

amazing project by great people

Deborah Macêdo dos Santos

Deborah Macêdo dos Santos

PhD candidate

She is Architect and Urbanist, and holds a MBA in Sustainable Construction and a Master in Regional Sustainable development. Since 2014 she is Professor of graphics design at Universidade Federal do Cariri. She is currently doing her PhD at the Faculty of Architecture, specialty in graphics computation, under a Brazilian research scholarship founded by CNPQ.

José Nuno Beirão

José Nuno Beirão

PhD Supervisor

He is an architect and a teacher that holds a phD in architecture from TU Delft. He teaches at the Faculty of Architecture of University of Lisbon, and supervise the researches in Design and Graphics Computation Group ( He supports advances studies and research in architecture, design and urbanism, thought the transdisciplinary fields of Digital Fabrication and parametric design.

Common Questions

Everything you need to know before you get started

What is superadobe?

It is a constructive system created by the architect Nader Khalili for NASA. Uses Bag barbed wire and earth to build walls, vaults and domes.

What is CICERO?

C.I.C.E.R.O. Stands for: Create Informatic Cabin Earthbag-Resource Oriented. It is a phD research project that, in this stage, presents a parametric generative tool for dome design.

The tool and interface:

The tool was developed in visual programing language by the author’s research and it runs online aided by shapediver platform (

Understanding the variables parameters parameter:

After a systematic research, we discovered that it s possible design a dome and some main dome clusters with generative design strategy. In other words, the model can be generated jus changing some keys structural parameters. They are:

  • DOME RADIUS: Radius in meters of dome plan view
  • CURVATURE ARCH: During construction, it is used a “height compass”. It is a hope stacked on the floor. This parameter regards where the constructor can variate to stack the hope. Touching the entrance door (0) to the maximum allowed distance away (1,5m).
  • BAG SIZE: Regards to the wall length
  • APSES RADIUS: Radius in meters of apses (small semi dome) plan view
  • ROTATE APSES: number in degrees to rotate all apses together round the dome
  • APSES QUANTITY: Number of apses round the dome
  • ANGLE BETWEEN APSES: distance between apses in degrees
  • DISTANCE: The “0” represent the clustering of one third of the apse projection “inside” the dome. As much the parameter increase, the apses “enter” in dome.
  • COLOR CHANGE: Visualize the model in different colors.

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