Preservation group: Don’t destroy the dome

By Gus Bode

Anyone who has ever driven down the intersection of Cherry and Forest and wondered about the dome-shaped house on the corner might want to make a stop at the Italian Village today.

At 6 p.m., Carbondale’s chapter of the R. Buckminster Fuller Dome Home Non-Profit will hold the first in a series of monthly gatherings at the Italian Village in Carbondale. The event is both a fundraising opportunity and a chance to meet the people who are in charge of restoring the dome.

Brent Ritzel, a Carbondale native who currently serves as the president of the not-for-profit group, said the movement was started out of both a respect for R. Buckminister Fuller, or ‘Bucky’ as he is affectionately called, and a desire to bring the dome back to its former glory.


Fuller, a former SIUC professor and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, built the dome in 1960 and sold it when he left the university in 1972, Ritzel said.

‘Since then, it has fallen into disrepair and has been condemned by the city for several years, rendering it unlivable,’ he said.

Richard Cross, a senior from Chicago studying fashion design, lives just down the street from the dome and has always wondered about its purpose. He said he was told that the structure has been condemned for years and thought it would stay that way.

‘ ‘I always just assumed they were going to tear it down at some point, but they haven’t since I’ve lived here,’ Cross said.

Ritzel said the mission of the group is to both revive the dome to its former glory and use the teachings of Fuller to help people learn about a variety of topics. He said the mission statement is simple.

‘The original Dome Home of Buckminster and Anne Fuller is an extremely important historic artifact that, with competent and devoted stewardship, can act as a hub of information concerning the life and work of Buckminster Fuller,’ Ritzel said.

John Johnson, a retired SIUC employee of information technology, also serves on the board. He said he, too, wants to restore the dome for future generations.


He said today’s event would allow people newly interested in Fuller’s life and craft a chance to meet like-minded people and share some free pizza. The event is open to the public.

‘I hope that people can attend,’ Johnson said. ‘Not too many people know who Bucky is, and we would all like that to change.’

Wes Lawson can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275 or [email protected].