Fuller Dome


Traveling Exhibition
First Installation
Toulouse, France, Port Viguerie
“Installation for the Toulouse Arts International Art Festival”


Robert Rubin


Carlson Arts - Fabricator

Benoit Le Thierry - Architect
of Record/Installation Architect


Restoration / Relocation /


50 m diameter



The Fuller Dome Project is a restoration / relocation and installation project located in Toulouse, France.  The Fuller Dome was originally designed and constructed by R. Buckminster Fuller, and known as the Buckminster Fuller 50 Foot Diameter Fly’s Eye Dome.

“Fuller - visionary designer, inventor, philosopher - conceived the Fly's Eye Dome with its cylindrical openings as an 'autonomous dwelling machine'. He planned to make the modular structure into inexpensive, portable housing. With a water collection system and solar panels in some openings, it would be entirely self-sufficient.  The 50 Foot Fly’s Eye Dome was constructed around 1980 and erected and exhibited in Los Angeles in 1981.  Fuller was to construct three separate domes.  Two years later Fuller passed away and the three domes disappeared, stored in farming pastures in Northern California.

In 2012 the Buckminster Fuller Institute started looking for a collector to purchase and restore the 50-foot Fly's Eye dome, by now in serious disrepair.  New York Architect Daniel Reiser became interested in the project and approached Robert Rubin, who owns iconic houses by Jean Prouvé and Pierre Chareau. Mr. Rubin decided to purchase the Dome and hire Los Angles master fabricator Peter Carlson to undertake the restoration effort.

Rubin then contacted his friend Jean-Marc Bustamante, director of the newly-revamped Toulouse art festival, and suggested lending it to the event, and they accepted saying: 'We found an ideal location on the river's edge at Port Viguerie, it would be at the centre of the festival and also provide a very beautiful symbol: an eye.'” [1]

[1] Article Excerpt from Wallpaper* Design / 24 May 2013/ by Amy Serafin

The primary structure of the dome is comprised of 135 individual components.  Each component is fabricated of glass fiber reinforced polyester (FRP) using standard commercial means that were in use at the time of the dome’s manufacture.  The parts are assembled to each other by means of bolts, which compress together the mating “bolt up” flanges of the corresponding parts.

The dome has multiple round openings, or oculi, each approximately seven feet in diameter.

The installation design by Benoit Le Thierry aimed to emphasize the character of the dome while providing access around the perimeter and the interior.