On April 19th, restoration work will begin on the world’s first geodesic dome home in Carbondale, Illinois. The house was built in 1960 by the inventor Buckminster Fuller and his wife, Lady Anne, in just 7 hours using 60 wooden triangle panels. The pair lived in the house until 1971, and once they left, the building was rented out as student housing for the nearby Southern Illinois University campus for the next 30 years, falling into serious disrepair over the decades.
Luckily, the historic value of the property was recognized by a 2001 buyer, who immediately built a protective cover to stop any further deterioration, and donated the dome house to a non-profit. The group was able to get the house recognized as a historic landmark with the city of Carbondale in 2003, and with the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
In 2011, the project to restore Fuller’s dome house won a Save America’s Treasures Grant, which promised matching funds up to $125,000 for the restoration of the building. A few short years later, it seems the fundraising project has paid off: enough money has been raised to start repairing the building. The exterior of the dome will be restored to its original single ply roof membrane, rather than the thick layers of asphalt shingles now covering it, and 10 missing flush mount skylights will be reinstalled.
Once construction is finished, the house will be converted into a museum to hold the inventor’s extensive personal library and help spread Fuller’s message of hope and success for all humanity to generations to come.