Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Buckminster Fuller,
Architect Of the
Oddly Compelling
Geodesic Dome

Many Northeastern Ohioans probably know that we have a certified Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece in our midst: the Penfield House in Lake County. My wife and I were lucky enough to stay there overnight a couple of years ago, the result of a lovely gift from a couple of good friends who met at our wedding and subsequently married. But I think it's fair to say that far fewer know about an almost equally compelling structure to the east of Cleveland, Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome in Geauga County (pictured here), which houses the headquarters of a professional group, the Materials Information Society. The late futurist and maverick inventor gets a retrospective in the current Newsweek. The piece nicely describes how he became an inspiration to the counterculture during the 1960s, as well as a passionate environmentalist before that became popular. Today, we could use several hundred more like him working in and around the region. As always with genius, the trick is to identify them in real time, before it's too late.
UPDATE: I should have also linked to this recent New Yorker piece on Fuller.


At 1:21 PM, Anonymous MilesB said...

Actually, there's quite a few FLW homes in the area, including a residence in Oberlin and one or two in the Akron/Canton area.

The Bucky dome I haven't been to yet, but thanks for reminding me. I'll have to check it out one of these days.

At 2:29 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Yes, Miles, after I posted that I almost immediately saw that I was being imprecise in the language. So thanks as always for nicely amplifying, broadening, correcting, etc. my rantings. And if you can share any links of the places you've mentioned, I'd be appreciative.

What I really intended to say is that while he designed literally hundreds (and perhaps well over a thousand) residences all around the country, a handful of which (or maybe two or three handfuls) are in this region (to say nothing of the many more FLW-influenced designs), the Penfield House I mentioned is among the several dozen of his most widely recognized gems, and for various reasons which I don't pretend to understand, would be the one piece of his work in this area that stands head and shoulders above others for hardened Frank fans.

Anyway, spending the day and especially the evening there is a quasi-religious experience, because of course he not only does a great job on the interior and exterior of the house, but also sublimely matches it to the physical setting. It's just a marvelous place and a not-to-be-missed experience. I understand the waiting list is months long, however, or at least was a couple of years ago.


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