Greenwich's Millennium Dome design seems sadly retrogressive: a step backwards from the still under-appreciated innovations of Buckminster Fuller. Each of its 12 preposterous masts weighs about 50 tonnes, which is probably more than the weight of a self-supporting geodesic dome of similar size. This is called doing less with more.
When I asked Mike Davis (Richard Rogers Partnership - Architect for the Millennium Dome) why a geodesic design was not selected, he insisted that it had been considered, but that it was found to be less efficient than the chosen design, which is based on suspension bridge concepts. He added that tension was very efficient, but that a geodesic dome was largely a compression structure(!).
The most disastrous aspect of the dome is the fact that the colossal expense of its construction and marketing could have been much more wisely spent on livingry in various forms: shelter, schools, clinics, research and so on.
On the 6th September 2000, The Guardian reported yet another scandalous injection of lottery cash:
"The latest £47m injection takes to £179m the amount of public funds pledged this year to keep afloat an enterprise that was initially dependent on £399m lottery grant."
It was believed that, if the dome stayed open until December 2000, it would have cost 1 billion pounds sterling.
What a dismal monument to vanity and self-importance.
It is a perversion of ephemeralization: converting vast resources of energy, money and creativity into pompous, bloated ephemera.
For a report of a visit, see Dome Visit.
For a poem, see Enter Bluster.
THE FULLER MAP
© Paul Taylor 2001