One of Buckminster Fuller’s visionary housing structures is set to be erected at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The 50-foot structure, known as the “Fly’s Eye Dome” is the largest of only three original prototypes hand-fabricated by Fuller during his lifetime.
Inspired by the shape of an insect’s eye, the structure was designed by Fuller as an affordable, portable home of the future. The dome features 61 openings with its geodesic framework, which were intended to hold solar panels and water collection systems that could allow the dome to be self-sufficient.
Designed in 1961, the 50-foot dome was displayed during the Los Angeles Bicentennial in 1981 before spending the next three decades in storage. In early 2013, the dome was acquired by architectural historian Robert Rubin, who restored it to show at Festival International d’Art in Toulouse, France, in the summer of that year.
Now, it has found a permanent home on Crystal Bridges’ North Lawn, not far from a recently relocated Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home, the Bachman-Wilson House.
“It is shocking and people are going to go, ‘What is that?'” Curatorial Assistant Dylan Turk told AP. “Hopefully they’ll go out there and want to know what it is.”
“We have an actual piece of paper where he had a picture of a fly that he had found in a newspaper in the ’60s,” continued Turk. “He saw it and thought, ‘The structure of this fly’s eye could become one of my type of domes.’ He was literally looking at a fly’s eye.”
The other two original domes, measuring 12 feet and 24 feet, are both held by private owners, the smallest being owned by one Sir Norman Foster.
The Fly’s Eye Dome will be installed in the summer of 2017.
News via Crystal Bridges.