September 15, 2017
by Canadian Architect
American pavilion – Expo 67 in Montreal – designed by R. Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao
Photo credit: Copyright : Fonds Jeffrey Lindsay, Archives d’architecture canadienne, Université de Calgary.
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the most famous geodesic dome in the world: the U.S. Pavilion at Expo ’67, designed by R. Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao. From first experiments undertaken in the late 1940s through to the proliferation of DIY domes in the early 1970s, the exhibition Montréal’s Geodesic Dreams at UQAM Centre de design explores the “geodesic moment” in architecture. It will reveal the forgotten role of Montréal and Québec in the development of this innovative structural system that captured the 20th-century architectural imagination.
Photographs, drawings, books, documents, drawing instruments, and design tools on loan from the Fonds Jeffrey Lindsay of the University of Calgary’s Canadian Architectural Archives and various other archives and collections will highlight the intricacy of those spherical structures. The exhibition will also feature a series of models, structural details at 1:1 scale, and a prototype 20’ diameter geodesic dome designed and built by Studio Cube with a team of students from UQAM’s École de design.
The exhibition focuses on the work of the Montréal designer Jeffrey Lindsay (1924-84), founder and director of the Fuller Research Foundation Canadian Division based in Montréal between 1949 and 1956. His numerous projects will be presented, including several geodesic domes constructed on the Island of Montreal and its environs, among them “Weatherbreak” (1949-50) the first self-supporting, large-span geodesic dome ever built according to Fuller’s designs, which was assembled in Baie D’Urfé; “Skybreak” in Beaurepaire (1951); “Skigloo,” a chalet in Morin Heights (1952); and the Hackney Barn in Senneville (1952-54). The exhibition will also explore the diffusion of the geodesic dome in Québec, ranging from the polar bear enclosure at the Granby Zoo (Paul O. Trépanier and Victor Prus; 1962-63) to the dome of the U.S. Pavilion at Expo ’67.
A bilingual catalogue accompanying the exhibition will be published by Dalhousie Architectural Press in mid-October. This exhibition is made possible thanks to the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, in collaboration with the University of Calgary’s Canadian Architectural Archives.