Our Geodesic Dome

Posted: 27 Feb 2013


Welcome to the page devoted to the newest of the Friends Wilderness Center’s retreat structures: the Geodesic Dome.   While the dome will not be finished and ready for trial occupancy until later in 2013, we wanted to allow you to share in our excitement as this marvelous new retreat space takes shape – quite literally.

While drilling, aligning and pouring the concrete footings in the summer of 2012, the actual dome raising took place on Saturday, January 12th. The work crew led by Keith Curtis took the triangular pieces and painstakingly assembled them into the familiar rounded shape that we associate with these domes that were first invented and made popular by Buckminster Fuller in the 1960’s and 70’s. Nail by nail, bracket by bracket, the forms were connected, one to another, until the moment of truth came: getting the connecting bolts into the final aluminum bracket. As you might guess, with the many pieces, the complicated geometries, and the inevitable way that tolerances have of being additive in ways that are not always to one’s benefit, getting in this bolt was as they say in the trade was ‘a real bear’ – it just did not want to go even after 6 men tied a rope to the frame and leaned into it for all they were worth. With the lunch bell rung 15 minutes before and no progress deemed likely all but two of the crew adjourned to the cabin for a delicious 3-chili lunch prepared by Sheila and her helpers. Plates were being cleaned and stacked and contented smiles spreading across faces when Jeff and Adam (the two work crew holdouts) came through the cabin door beaming victorious grins – they had gotten the final bolt in!! 

With that milestone achieved and with the energy of a great lunch to fuel them, the crew went back on site and got the remainder of the skeleton up and in place. Ahhhhhh…the feeling of satisfaction as dusk descended, we posed for our pictures and began to pack up cords, tools and ladders. A wonderful day of fellowship, manual labor, and great food came to an end.

A select crew re-assembled on February 9th to continue the finishing work and reported back that the porch was now framed and the skylights and most of interior wall panels installed. Work will continue throughout 2013 as the finishing touches are applied to the dome and installation of a nearby outbuilding with composting toilet proceeds. If you would be interested in participating in any of these dome work days, please contact Sheila and she will let you know when dome work days are planned.

To see some additional pictures of the January 12th dome-raising click here to see Paul Murphy’s great shots of the work in progress.