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Fly's Eye Dome

Fly’s Eye Dome by Buckminster Fuller

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 surfboard 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 Rubin. This dome has not been shown in the US since its first appearance at the 1981 Los Angeles Bicentennial. Now installed on Crystal Bridges’ Orchard Trail, Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome is open for public viewing at no cost from dawn until dusk.

Buckminster Fuller in front of a Fuller dome
R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983), Fly's Eye Dome, 1961, fabricated ca. 1980, Fiberglass-reinforced polyester, 38 × 50 × 50ft. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2015.15

Spotlight Talk: Robert Rubin on the Fly’s Eye Dome

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Ken and Liz Allen, Chip and Susan Chambers, and the Harrison and Rhonda French Family.