Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic restaurant to be renovated and repurposed as arts center

It is as if the geodesic spaceship that landed in Woods Hole, massachusetts in 1953 has been abandoned, and now no one knows quite what to do with it.

The Dome under construction.
Photo courtesy of Woods Hole Museum.

The Dome, built over six decades ago by renowned visionary architect, R. Buckminster Fuller, remains an incongruous piece of look-at-me futuristic architecture in this quaint New England village.

Built at the invitation of local architect Gunnar Peterson, Buckminster Fuller came to Woods Hole and constructed the world’s first free-standing commercial dome — a geodesic restaurant.

Now, there is a deserted, Planet Of The Apes overgrown feel to the building. The future has gotten old. It has not been used for more than a decade.

But now, a group of concerned citizens and organizations has been working to rehabilitate the geodesic dome constructed by Fuller. The organization hopes to repurpose the structure as a public center for contemporary arts.

The Dome and surrounding property are currently owned by the Falmouth-based company Longfellow Design Build.

The group has developed a detailed vision for what the Dome could become. Part of that dream is to acquire about one acre of the 5.4-acre property.

Restaurant in operation.
Photo courtesy of Woods Hole Museum

Leading the effort is Nicole Goldman, vice chairman of the Falmouth Historical Commission. The group has tentatively named itself The Dome for Contemporary Arts.

The geodesic dome in Woods Hole was built in 1953, and is the oldest existing dome structure to be built by Mr. Fuller himself. It was owned and commissioned by the late Falmouth architect E. Gunnar Peterson, who turned the structure into the popular Dome Restaurant.

THE DOME of Contemporary Arts (DOCA) is envisioned as an interdisciplinary exhibition center for the presentation of visual and performing arts. The preservation of the historic R. Buckminster Fuller geodesic Dome in Woods Hole, and its adaptive reuse is the cornerstone of this effort.

Now in the feasibility and planning stages, a new non-profit organization is emerging to take on this project. The goal is to create a truly inspirational center where premier national and international artists, exemplifying the best in collaborative and experimental ideas bridging the arts, science, technology and the environment, can flourish.

Feature photo of Buckminster Fuller, author unknown.

See Falmouth Enterprise article by Brittany Feldott.

See Falmouth Historical Commission website.

See article about the Dome by Brian Tarcy in the Cape Cod Wave.

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