|Smaller image top: Theater dome under construction, Drop City, 1966 (photo: Clark Richert)
Main image: Interior view of Wholeo Dome, designed by Caroling, 1974, (photo, (c) Chuck Henrikson, courtesy wholeo.net)
Within the expanding consciousness of a generation, there was a spatial shift from square to round, from hard-edged to soft, from static to mobile, from exclusive to all-inclusive, and it seemed to be welling up from the deepest part of the human psyche. It drifted inexorably away from the linear, from the right angle, from the grid, the boxaway from the whole Euclidean dead endmoving into an imaginary place that was at once flowing, ceremonial, globular, and tribal, a place in which time and space were seamlessly interwoven. There was magic in circles, and for many of the fuzzily dispossessed, the revolution would manifest itself in the form of a brazenly free-standing pod, or dome. By 1959, it was estimated that almost one thousand geodesic type domes, based on Buckminster Fuller's patent, had been built around the world. But Fuller's vision found its true legacy in the mid-to-late sixties when the children of the counterculture adopted his patent as a symbol of both resistance and solidarity. Fuller's influence spread rapidly through word of mouth, books, articles, and the infamously long and rambling lectures that he delivered at college campuses. Young admirers like Steve Baer, Clark Richert, Jay Baldwin, Lloyd Kahn, and Steve Durkee would borrow his basic concepts and adapt them to the needs of the self-build communities that were springing up across the country.
"Corners constrict the mind," wrote one outlaw builder. "Domes break into new dimensions." Indeed, the dome could be seen as the seed for a whole new way of being, one that was communal, self-supporting, nonhierarchical. Its simple, round geometry suggested a multifaceted crystal, the eye of God, a circle of fellowship, and the mysterious oneness that so many had experienced on LSD and Psilocybin. "You merge with the dome; its skin becomes your skin", wrote one convert.
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