It is in the nature of tensegrity structures that their efficiency is directly proportioned to their size. This is because the tensile strength of a cable of a given girth is not reduced by multiplying its length.
Unafraid to follow his reasoning to unusual conclusions, Fuller proposed a dome 3km wide and 1.6km high to cover New York City from the East River to the Hudson at 42nd Street, and, north and south, from 62nd Street to 22nd Street.
"Its skin would consist of wire-reinforced, one-way vision, shatterproof glass, mist-plated with aluminium to cut sun glare while admitting light. From the outside it would look like a great glittering hemispheric mirror, while from the inside its structural elements would be as invisible as the wires of a screened porch, and it would appear as a translucent film through which the sky, clouds and stars would appear." (Hatch, p.230)
The dome would weigh about 4000 tonnes and its rim would be mounted at average skyscraper height. In 1960 Fuller wrote that,
"a fleet of 16 of the large Sikorsky helicopters could fly all the segments into position in 3 months at a cost of $200m."
Because the dome's weight would be comparable to the air beneath it, in hot weather it would tend to float, although anchored in place by cables (see Cloud Structures).
Because the sphere has the property of enclosing the maximum volume for the minimum surface area, and the dome would have a surface area approximately 1/84th of that of the buildings enclosed, heating and air-conditioning costs would be dramatically reduced.
In addition, Fuller calculated that "the savings to the city in snow removal costs alone would pay for the dome in ten years" (Hatch, p.230), melted snow and rain being collected in gutters and piped to reservoirs.
Fuller noted that,
"since all the New York Steam Co. and Edison Co. plants which supply this area are outside the circle, the buildings within the dome could be heated and still exclude the primary fumes which now pollute the area." (Pawley, p.149)
The banishment of the internal combustion engine would also be necessary.
THE FULLER MAP
© Paul Taylor 2001