Arch + Eng, Art, Design

New Fly’s Eye dome™ unveiled in Miami

The Buckminster Fuller Institute’s (BFI) new Fly’s Eye Dome™ edition was unveiled today at a press conference held at Palm Court in the Design District in Miami, Florida. International dignitaries were on hand for the press conference celebrating the inaugural public art and design installation of the newly developed district as well as the announcement of plans to relocate the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami to the district.

Miami Mayor Tomás Pedro Regalado, ICA Board chair Irma Braman, and real estate developer Craig Robins made remarks. BFI’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Thompson attended the ceremony.

The Buckminster Fuller Institute was commissioned by Robins to build a new edition of Fuller’s Fly’s Eye dome™ edition 12 months ago. The new 24 foot dome – designed and fabricated by DRDesign, Conform Labs and Goetz Composites for BFI – moves the original prototype forward in significant ways. A 3-D parametric model was produced from the original parts. Complex tooling was then cut, using a 5-axis CNC machine. The composite parts were engineered and laminated in accordance with Miami-Dade County Building Code, which includes careful regulation of flame spread, smoke toxicity, and hurricane durability.

“The Design District dome is now perched on a plinth in the middle of a small reflecting pool, a few feet off the plaza floor, further enhancing the hovering, otherworldly quality of what Fuller would call its inherent “sphericity.” It holds its own among the palm trees and luxury shops, its bubble-like lenses glistening in the sea-flecked Miami light. By crossing a narrow bridge, you enter the dome and descend a broadly spiraling staircase to the subterranean parking lot, but the best part is coming back up, looking skyward through the dome’s high-impact polycarbonate lenses. It’s hard to explain, but something perceptual comes unhinged. The head feels lighter, almost giddy with a kind of reverse vertigo. The dome expands the mind as it breaks away from orthogonal geometry and mimics the geometry of the human eye and the Earth itself. There is hardly any sense of boundary, only an ever-expanding membrane,” writes architecture critic Alastair Gordon in an article published yesterday in the Miami Herald.

For press inquiries or further information about The Buckminster Fuller Institute’s Fly’s Eye dome™ program, visit or contact Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Director: [email protected].