Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rebuilding Bucky’s dome home

Back in 1959 Buckminster Fuller came to Carbondale to begin teaching at Southern Illinois University. He and his wife Anne Hewlett Fuller built a small house on a corner lot near campus, a dome. They surrounded it with an ingenious redwood fence that allowed for privacy and air passage at the same time.

The years haven’t been kind to Bucky’s home. At one point it was even rented out as student housing, with a shabby new kitchen and an “upgraded” bathroom. All the angles and joins in the 2 X 4 superstructure were subject to leaks, and rot set in. The skylights fell through the roof. It was a mess.

A foundation was established to raise money and volunteers to restore the dome and one of their first interventions was to construct a protective dome around the original building. This afternoon I spent an hour there helping to shovel away ground up roots, from a tree that had uprooted the once-splendid redwood fence and was cut down last week.

Though I had seen the dome from the outside many times, this was the first time I got to go inside. What appears tiny from without is actually quite a spacious and liveable interior. Even in its current decrepit condition, it felt like a spiritual place. You could almost feel the history these rooms have seen. Bringing it back to life feels like a worthy cause. I’ll enjoy volunteering on this project over the next couple of years.



At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Gene Keyes said...

I have "Buckminster Fuller" as a Google Alert term; it brought your blog to my attention. Am an SIU alumnus (1969-73) and student of Billl Perk and Bucky. Was only in his house once, for a 1970 lecture that was being filmed. Good luck with the project. (The picture is like seeing a double rainbow, one inside the other.) --Gene Keyes


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