Friday, October 31, 2008

Dome sweet dome

This satellite image is of the Rita Angus cottage in Wellington. We were there last week when Ronnie van Hout was in residence while putting up his Te Papa installation. The Google image was pulled up to see if there was any sign of the geodesic dome that until recently sat on the cottage’s back garden. It might be there in the image, it’s hard to tell. The dome was built by someone we only knew as Frank, and from memory he lived in it for a while when Alister Taylor was in the cottage in the early seventies. There was a book on how to build geodesic domes published by Alister Taylor, but it wasn’t by Frank. Rupert Glover, son of Wellington poet Denis, did the honours.

The reason for all this dome fever is that we noted that it is 50 years since Buckminster Fuller’s patent for the geodesic dome was first used for specialized industrial use for the Union Tank Car Company. A more famous structure was the dome he created for Expo 67 in Montreal. We visited it years ago but even then its plexiglass covering had long been destroyed by a fire that swept through the structure in 1976.

Image: What might be a blurred sighting of Frank’s effort in the back yard of the Rita Angus cottage via Google Earth.