Skybreak (2014)

The former Dome Restaurant in Woods Hole, Massachusetts was designed by the renowned engineer, inventor, and theorist R. Buckminster Fuller in 1953. It holds the distinction of being one of Fuller’s early experimentations in building a geodesic dome and the first example that was specifically designed for commercial use. Fuller championed the geodesic dome as the most efficient form of architecture for mankind and envisioned that it would eventually be used for a variety of purposes across the globe. Despite the establishment’s initial popularity with the Woods Hole community, the distinct design of the dome created difficulties in operating a normal restaurant. Water leaks and soundproofing were constant problems because of the peculiar construction of the ceiling. In an effort to create a more conventional commercial space in the year 2001, a dropped ceiling was installed to effectively conceal the top half of the dome. Today, the latticework of the original ceiling has been revealed once again, only because a malfunction with the sprinkler system led to extensive water damage with the dropped ceiling tiles. The fact that the geodesic dome and the dropped ceiling grid are now visible simultaneously allows one to gaze up at two divergent trajectories of architecture and ideas of what constitutes the ideal ceiling inside a shelter. The grid of the dropped ceiling could also be viewed in relation to the classic idea of the grid in both modern art and architecture. Then, it becomes evident through the network of lines that form the geodesic dome that Fuller’s vision of modernity and organization of space did not necessarily conform to the classic idea of the grid.

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