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Not to Scale: Highlights from the Fly's Eye Dome Archive

June 30, 2017 –  April 9, 2018

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

This focus exhibition features several drawings, models, and concept sketches that form part of Buckminster Fullers’ Fly’s Eye Dome Archive, which was recently acquired by Crystal Bridges. An American architect, visionary, and inventor, Fuller [1895-1983], had revolutionary ideas focusing on improving the quality of life for the human race. Among other things, Fuller is known for promoting the use of the geodesic dome as a lightweight, affordable housing option. In 1966, Fuller began working with John Warren, a young engineer and surf board manufacturer specializing in fiberglass, and Norman Foster, famed and knighted British architect, to further develop the geodesic dome concept. Their goal was to incorporate circular openings—called “oculi”—to the dome in a pattern similar to that of the lenses of a fly’s eye. The openings would allow light and air to enter without compromising the integrity of the structure. The materials in this exhibition illuminate the collaborative, creative process that guided Fuller, Warren, and Foster as they developed and perfected the Fly’s Eye Dome. The exhibition introduces Fuller’s work and principles, while celebrating his passion for innovation and illuminating the creative partnerships that contributed to this unique project.

This exhibition accompanies the opening of Fuller’s 50-foot Fly’s Eye Dome, one of three prototypes he created of his design for efficient, inexpensive housing, which was acquired by Crystal Bridges in 2016.

Sponsored By

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