Arch + Eng

Buckminster Fuller’s Dome Home to be restored

Good news! Minnesota-based Dome, Inc. will be initiating the long-awaited preservation work on Buckminster Fuller’s Dome Home in Carbondale, Illinois with a public ground-breaking on April 19. From their press release:

On April 19, 2014 a ground breaking event will take place near Southern Illinois University, to start the restoration and preservation of Buckminster Fuller’s private dome home. The restoration contract was awarded to Dome, Inc. of MN and will begin immediately after this spring ground breaking ceremony. In 1960, Lady Anne and Bucky Fuller designed the first geodesic dome home. The Pease Manufacturing Company of Hamilton, OH made 60 wood triangle panels, and Ira Parrish of Carbondale was the building contractor. The dome was built in 7 hours on April 19, 1960.

The Fullers lived a few blocks from SIU campus at 407 S. Forest while Bucky was a professor in the School of Architecture, until 1971. The home was rented as student housing for 30 years, falling into serious neglect and disrepair. The dome survived several owners and many students until H.F.W. “Bill” Perk purchased the property and had a protective cover built in 2001 to insulate the dome from further aging. Perk donated the dome to RBF Dome NFP, a not for profit entity in Illinois to save the dome. The dome was recognized with a City of Carbondale Landmark Designation in 2003 and The National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

Bucky’s vision of the housing future was of manufactured homes factory built and designed safer, stronger, more efficient and made of advanced materials not available in his current time. The purpose of this preservation is to restore the dome to the vision Fuller had in 1960, despite improving his own work and using better materials in later years. The exterior of the dome will be restored to its original single ply (TPO type) roof membrane, currently buried under three layers of asphalt shingles. Also being restored are 10 missing flush mount skylights.

Bucky is credited with designing and initializing the construction of 3000 domes before he passed in 1983, but he only owned and lived in this one dome home. The project was awarded a Save America’s Treasures Grant which requires matching funds be raised for the restoration to be fully funded. Support is welcome and encouraged with tax deductible donations to RBF Dome NFP. When completed, The Fuller Dome Home Museum will open to amplify the positive message of hope for the success of all humanity that was at the core of Fuller’s philosophy.

Admission to the noon event on April 19, 2014 is free to the public. Tours of the dome before restoration and rare artifacts will be available for viewing.