Fly's Eye Dome
The Fly’s Eye Dome is a creation of American designer, inventor, and theorist R. Buckminster Fuller, and was originally intended to provide economical, efficient housing. After working for many years designing geodesic domes for industry and the military, in 1966 Fuller began working with John Warren, a surf board manufacturer specializing in fiberglass, and architect Norman Foster to develop a new dome. This one would be constructed of lightweight fiberglass and feature circular openings, called “oculi,” in a pattern similar to the lenses of a fly’s eye, which would allow light and air to enter without compromising the integrity of the structure.
By 1981, they had developed three prototypes: a 12-foot, a 24-foot, and a 50-foot version. Crystal Bridges acquired the 50-foot structure in 2016 after it was painstakingly restored by architectural historian Robert Ruben. This dome has not been shown in the US since its first appearance at the 1981 Los Angeles Bicentennial and is now installed on Crystal Bridges’ north lawn. The dome will open to the public in July, 2017. It is viewable from Crystal Bridges’ north gallery bridge, and may also be viewed from the north elevator tower.
The Fly’s Eye Dome is sponsored byKen and Liz Allen, Chip and Susan Chambers, and the Harrison and Rhonda French Family.