Fuller Dome Home

Quick Stats

  • LOCATION: 407 S. Forest Avenue, Carbondale, Jackson County
  • STATUS: Renovation Underway
  • BUILT: 1960
  • SITE TYPE: Residential, Home
  • ARCHITECTURE: Geodesic Dome
  • GEOGRAPHY: Downstate
  • THREAT AT TIME OF LISTING: Deterioration
  • CURRENT USE: Historic Site, pending
  • DESIGNATIONS: National Register of Historic Places (2006), Carbondale Historic Site
  • LI PROGRAMS & AWARDS: Recipient of a Landmarks Illinois Preservation Heritage Fund Grant in 2012, and Recipient of a Landmarks Illinois 2015 Richard H. Dreihaus Foundation Preservation Award
  • Take Action: Donate toward a local organization’s efforts to renovate the Dome.

(Photo credit: Liz Chilsen)

Historic Significance

Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was a famous twentieth-century American inventor and is among Southern Illinois University’s most decorated alumni. An inventor, theorist, designer and architect, Fuller is perhaps most widely known for coining and popularizing the geodesic dome, considered to be one of the strongest and most efficient structures known to humankind. Fuller patented the dome home in 1954 as a solution to the post-war housing boom.

Envisioned as a model for durable, affordable, accessible and efficient housing, the prefabricated dome home in Carbondale was assembled on a concrete foundation over just seven hours on April 19, 1960. The home was also the only dome in which Fuller ever lived. From 1959-1971, Fuller taught at SIUC, where he produced some of his most significant work. While residing in his geodesic Dome Home, Fuller made the cover of Time Magazine, earned a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, published some of his most influential writing and received more than a quarter of his 23 patents.

(Photo credit: Liz Chilsen)

Threat at Time of Listing - 2004

Recognizing the significant challenges facing the deteriorated dome, RBF Dome NFP worked with Landmarks Illinois to list the Dome Home on Landmarks Illinois’ Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois in 2004. The group also nominated the Dome Home as a local Carbondale landmark and to the National Register of Historic Places. Needing a plan for restoration, RBF Dome completed a Historic Structure Report, funded in part by a Landmarks Illinois Heritage Fund grant in 2012.

(Photo credit: Liz Chilsen)

Preservation Efforts

After a significant and successful fundraising effort, the RBF Dome organization celebrated the completion of the first phase of the project in 2015. This included the restoration of the exterior of the Dome Home to Fuller’s 1960 vision—including reroofing—and the removal of the protective dome cover erected by Perk. For this impressive rehabilitation work, the Fuller Dome Home received a Landmarks Illinois 2015 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award. Now focused on the interior restoration, the volunteer group of educators, architects, designers, artists and community organizers that make up the RBF Dome organization continue to share Fuller’s world vision through his home and seminal design, the geodesic dome. Landmarks Illinois also made preservation efforts at the dome home the focus of a student video produced in 2017 as part of LI’s video project “People Saving Places: Stories About the Importance of Place.”
(Photo credit: Liz Chilsen)

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