Noted architectural historian and preservationist Robert Rubin has purchased the largest of Buckmister Fuller's "Fly's Eye" domes and plans to reopen it to the public this summer for the first time in 30 years.
One of the last of Fuller's visionary projects, the "Fly's Eye" dome was designed to be an autonomous dwelling. In his book Critical Path, Fuller describes the project as a culmination of "all that I had learned not only throughout [the] fifty year development period, but in all my thirty-two earlier years." Standing at 50-feet tall, the structure takes its name from the cylindrical openings which puncture the dome and give it its rigidity.
Rubin is seemingly the perfect candidate to own this Bucky dome; he has a passion for the work of mavericks, as well as a healthy track record when it comes to studying, restoring and sharing modernist architecture. Currently, Rubin is writing a book about his own home, the seminal modernist house Maison De Verre. Also in his collection is one of Jean Prouvé's prefabricated Masion Tropicales, which he has helped travel widely.
His new purchase is one of only three fly's eye domes designed by Fuller. The other two also went to good homes; the twelve-foot version is owned by none other than Norman Foster, whilst property developer Craig Robbins owns a twenty-four-foot replica. For his dome, Rubin intends to restore it and put it on display at the Toulouse Contemporary Art Festival in France , between May 24 and June 23 this year.
Having already begun in California, the restoration of the dome is being undertaken by Daniel Reiser of DR Design and consultant John Warren - both having worked on the original dome, as well as the restoration of Craig Robins' version. Once completed, the dome will sit on the Toulouse Riverfront, creating a contrast to the historic buildings. According to Rubin: "The idea is to make the dome a pedagogical event, to involve architecture students in Toulouse... It's important to see this stuff trickle down and out."