Heather and Andrew Cubie

Can a freestanding glass conservatory withstand gale force winds? It can if it’s a geodesic dome. This is just one of the reasons why Heather and Andrew Cubie chose a Solardome® glasshouse for their garden…

Andrew and Heather Cubie live at the head of Loch Goil in Argyll, West Scotland. It is an exquisitely beautiful spot, which also happens to have some fairly severe weather. They wanted to add a freestanding conservatory in which to relax and cultivate plants – but since winds there can reach up to 70 miles per hour, finding a structure robust enough to last was critical.

Inspired by a virus…

For Heather Cubie, the solution was obvious. As a retired virologist, Heather understood that “viruses learnt how to make very stable structures well before man did.” She had spent years studying the Human Papilloma Virus which, as she points out, has an icosohedral structure – just like a geodesic dome. “For many years I’ve said I’d love to have a geodesic dome in the shape of my virus!” she explains.

The Cubies settled on a SOLARDOME® Haven, which was installed in their garden in October 2014. The great advantage of a freestanding conservatory is being able to position it away from the house to maximise available light. Today, the Cubies are able to relax under glass and watch spectacular sunsets over the loch, however windy it gets outside.

An ideal, wind-resistant greenhouse

As a keen horticulturalist, Heather has been growing a range of plants in the dome glasshouse, with great results. Despite a cloudy, wet summer, her first, bumper crop of tomatoes and courgettes tasted “beautiful”. She also has a thriving lemon tree and she plans to add another citrus and a fig tree.

An “overwhelmingly positive” reaction

The impact of their dome hasn’t gone unnoticed, as Andrew explains: “When friends and family come they’re hugely impressed by what they see. They’re also aware of the enjoyment it’s giving us. We find the reaction just overwhelmingly positive.”

A meaningful construction

The freestanding glass conservatory allows the Cubies to enjoy their stunning surroundings come rain or shine – and its design is a stunning addition in its own right. “It’s a beautiful construction and it’s meaningful” says Heather. “Whether you’re a mathematician, a modeller, a virologist like me, or someone who’s keen on maximising the space and light for gardening, it’s ideal.”

At a glance

Location Argyll, Scotland, UK
The challenge To provide a strong freestanding glass conservatory that can nurture plants and withstand high winds.
The solution SOLARDOME® Haven
Dome specification 3-frequency geodesic dome
Diameter – 4.52m/14ft 10in
Height – 3.0m/ 9ft 10in
Volume – 36m3 / 1274ft3
Area – 15.95m2 / 171.68ft2


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