Buckminster Fuller
Summer 1949
Black Mountain College

Autonomous Dwelling Facility with a Geodesic Structure 

Model of dome with enclosed house. Photo courtesy Donald Richter.


Dome detail (above), collapsed dome and partially open dome (left), demonstration of dome lightness (below left) and dome strength (below center), plastic cover (with Fuller sitting on platform suspended from dome) (below right).

Photographs Masato Nakagawa, courtesy Black Mountain College Project.


The dome, a thirty-one great circle structure was made of aircraft tubing laced with cable which ran from the tubes through connectors at the joints. When the cable was tightened, the dome was erect; when relaxed, it collapsed into an easily-transported compact form. The prototype for the dome which Fuller brought with him had been constructed for a demonstration at the Pentagon in the winter. Assuming it would be erected indoors it actually was erected in the Pentagon courtyard Fuller had reduced the size to fourteen feet in diameter to accommodate an indoor space.

The project for the summer was construction of a double-walled, inflatable plastic skin cover for the dome.

The summer students erected the dome on a terrace at the end of the Studies Building. They demonstrated its strength by hanging by their hands from the structure and from a suspended platform on which a number of people could sit. Its light-weight was demonstrated by having three students lift it above their heads.