The Real Deal New York

What if Midtown Manhattan had a dome?

In the 1960s a proposal called for just that

February 28, 2016 03:00PM

Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao Dome Over Manhattan, 1960.

Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao Dome Over Manhattan, 1960.

It sounds completely absurd today, but in the Space Age, engineers and futurists hoped to cover Midtown Manhattan with a giant geodesic dome.

Plans by architect, systems theorist, author, designer and inventor Buckminster Fuller described a three-kilometer (1.864-mile) geodesic dome spanning Midtown Manhattan with the aim of regulating weather and reducing air pollution, according to 6sqft.

The structure would have stretched from the East River to the Hudson River and from 21st Street to 64th Street. Its benefits would have included reducing cooling costs in summer and heating costs in the winter. In fact, buildings would no longer need separate heating or cooling as the dome would regulate the temperature.

Because of those benefits, Fuller believed homes under the dome would command higher rents.

Fuller also believed that funding for the project could be offset by the amount the city would save on things like snow removal (which, given the huge undertaking that is, seems fairly tempting).

Fuller and architect Shoji Sadao went on to design the giant “Montreal Biosphère” for the U.S. Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal [6sqft]Christopher Cameron

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