Buckminster Fuller Developed Geodesic Dome Design at Black Mountain, Raleigh
On February 23, 1983, Buckminster Fuller was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for his contributions as a geometrician, educator and architect-designer.
“Bucky” Fuller’s application of synergetic geometry to geodesic structures took root at Black Mountain College in Buncombe County. During the 1949 summer session at Black Mountain, Fuller erected, with his students and colleagues, the prototype “Autonomous Dwelling Facility with a Geodesic Structure.”
As a guest lecturer at the North Carolina State University School of Architecture from 1949 to1955, Fuller worked with his students to design uses of the geodesic dome for a cotton mill, military installations and the Ford Motor Company. He patented the structure in 1954. Fuller received an honorary Doctor of Design degree from N.C. State in 1954. After leaving academia, Fuller served as president of the Raleigh architecture firm Synergetics from 1955 to 1959, where colleagues and students created sustainable commercial domes.
The Buckminster Fuller Institute has now identified more than 300,000 geodesic domes around the world, ranging from shelters to radar stations to playground structures.
Other related resources:
- An overview of Black Mountain College from the State Archives
- Images of Buckminster Fuller from the State Archives
- Items related to Black Mountain College in the Digital Collections of the State Archives and State Library
- The National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the Black Mountain College Historic District from the State Historic Preservation Office