Perhaps the most spectacular geodesic dome Fuller produced was the US pavilion at Expo' 67 in Montreal. This was made in partnership with the Japanese architect Shoji Sodao.
The dome was a three-quarter sphere 137ft high and with a spherical diameter of 250ft. The plans were highly unusual, as apart from a few details of the hubs connecting the struts, there were no drawings at all, just tables of figures with which to calibrate the machine tools that stamped out the stainless steel alloy components. Then it was only a matter of rivetting according to the colour code: all done with mathematics.
To avoid solar overheating, there was no plastic skin. Thousands of separate triangular plexi-glass panels were operated by 250 computer-controlled electric motors which opened or closed them according to the weather conditions. Other panels had light sensors linked to adjustable shades.
The components weighed about 600 tons altogether, but the dome sometimes weighed much less. As Fuller anticipated, with large domes, there is a buoyancy factor when sunlight heats the air inside the dome.
For general information and dozens of photographs and illustrations, see Dymaxion World.
For a photograph of the dome set afire by "renovators" in 1976, see Pawley, p.168.
THE FULLER MAP
© Paul Taylor 2001