The Buckminster Fuller Institute's new Fly's Eye Dome™ has been installed in Miami's Design District. It is a significantly evolved FED structure commissioned specifically for the site by Craig Robins, Miami developer and international contemporary art and design collector.
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.
"Craig Robins purchased Bucky's original 24 foot prototype - hand made in the late 1970's - which we restored to original condition in 2011 and installed as part of Art Basel/Design Miami. It was a huge success attracting tens of thousands of visitors. Craig approached us about installing the dome as part of his plans for the Design District, envisioning it utilized as a structural component of one of the development's new public spaces. We felt strongly that the original - a historic artifact - needed to be in a museum. Far more than a beautiful object, the Fly's Eye Dome™ is a pedagogical tool and needs a context in which the public can more deeply understand Fuller's ideas and intention for the structure", said Elizabeth Thompson, BFI's Executive Director
"Craig knew of BFI's commitment to realizing Bucky's un-finished vision for the Fly's Eye Dome™ (he passed in 1983 with only 3 original incomplete prototypes finished) so we suggested he commission a new dome for the site, which would continue the research and development process initiated by Bucky and enable us to test many of his ideas. This new dome has a re-designed lower truncation, a new joining system to prevent water penetration, a passive ventilation system, etc. We are very happy with the results!," added Dan Reiser of DR Design.
The dome will be open to the public once the construction on the site is completed. Situated in Palm Court in front of a façade designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, it sit atop of reflecting pool and above an underground parking lot. Visitors ascend a spiral staircase to the exterior courtyard through the dome.
Fly's Eye Dome™ Double Header in Miami!
You can do your own comparative study of the original and the new FED's this month in Miami!
The original 24 footer is on view in the sculpture garden at the Perez Art Museum Miami through December 14th.