The Dome is a renovation of an existing, mail-order kit geodesic dome, originally constructed in 1979 for Eagle Rock Montessori School. Used as a learning space for years, it was abandoned and fell into great disrepair when the school expanded to buildings across the street.
Though we were approached to figure out how to remove and rebuild this community center space, once we walked in and saw the exposed structural system devoid of its finishes we knew we wanted to preserve the aesthetic. Even in the face of extensive damage – rot, water, termites, and all the other usual suspects were present – we convinced the owner not tear it down and went to work.
The dome’s light structure proved to be an asset as well as a challenge. A lot could be done with standard construction methods, but we had to get creative to impose new ideas on its rigid form. In our case, the loading came down to four distinct spots leaving some areas open for manipulation. We wanted to move away from the standard box-outs commonly used in domes for door and window openings, so we incorporated large, circular windows and doors, and floated a part of the structure to create a place for kids to sit and play.
Inspired by Buckminster Fuller who championed the form and shape, as well as Shuhei Endo whose design influenced the lighting, we revived the Dome for modern use. Once again a hub from community activity, this bright and airy space now welcomes toddlers to preschool during the week and opens its doors to the community on the weekends.