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Friday, 4 November 2011

A New Life for Buckminster Fuller and John Kelly’s Modernist Office Park

Photo © Scott Pease
Russell Township, Ohio may not sound like much of an architectural destination. But this semi-rural town 25 miles east of Cleveland is actually home to architect and futurist Buckminster Fuller’s largest geodesic dome. The vast dome, allegedly one of Bucky’s favorites, was built in 1959 to surmount a low, crescent-shaped modernist office pavilion designed by architect John Terence Kelly. The hexagonal steel latticework also hovers weightlessly over a lush, circular garden in the center.
As Metropolis Magazine reports, this strikingly futuristic headquarters for the materials research clearinghouse ASM International rocked Ohio for generations, landing along Route 87 like “a cross between a spaceship and an exhibition pavilion that could have been airlifted from a world’s fair.” But the complex makes headlines today as a victory for the historic preservation of mid-century modern buildings. More after the jump.

Photo © Scott Pease
We learned from Metropolis Magazine that, as of August, the collaboration between Fuller and Kelly has been fully restored to its 1959 condition. The building, the dome, and the garden, collectively known as Materials Park, was successfully listed on the National Register of Historic Places and thereby became eligible for $2.5 million in tax credits to back its $7 million restoration plan.

Photo © Scott Pease
On a similar note, we learned from BDOnline that London’s Preston Bus Station, another endangered modernist monument, may be rescued from plans for demolition. The over $1 billion scheme to raze the Brutalist bus terminal for new development has been axed, giving hope that the 1969 masterpiece may live to see proper restoration.

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