1967: Biosphere – Montreal, Quebec
Innovation: Space Frame/ Geodesic Dome
Location: Montreal, Quebec
By: Buckminster Fuller
The Montreal Biosphere, designed for the Expo 67, is the result of Buckminster Fuller’s work dealing with with the tensile relationships between members to create a stable structure that was aesthetically pleasing. His work on domes began in the 1950s after becoming interested in tensile relationships and in spheres, which had the largest volume to surface area ratio. Fuller’s dome projects have been used for the military, environmental camps, and exhibition attractions around the world. His work inspired many to be creative in dealing with complex geometry, tensegrity, and lightweight structures.
Though Fuller was not the first to create a geodesic dome (rather, it was Dr. W. Bauersfield in the 1920s), he did receive the United States patent after popularizing his idea with the Montreal Biosphere in the Expo 67. The Montreal Biosphere’s covering of the dome burned in 1976, but the structure still stands at 250 feet in diameter and 200 feet high. Currently it is known as Biosphère and houses an interpretive museum, remaining a symbol of the Expo and of thin-shell structure .