phpjYwoxpAM.jpegIn the 1960s and 70s, the idea of a domed city stepped out of the science fiction spotlight and seemed like it may become a reality. One of the first real life concepts came about in 1960, when engineer Buckminster Fuller proposed a two mile "geodesic dome spanning Midtown Manhattan that would regulate weather and reduce air pollution." He planned the project with architect Shoji Sadao, and it would have covered the island from the East River to the Hudson River, from 21st Street to 64th Street.

The plan was for the giant dome to reduce cooling costs in summer and heating costs in the winter. Buildings would not be heated and cooled separately, instead the entire dome would be kept at a moderate temperature level. Presumably, in-dome apartments would have higher rents! Fuller believed the dome would eventually happen once he nailed down what materials to use, and said funding would be offset by the savings to the city—he wrote, “the cost of snow removal in New York City would pay for the dome in 10 years."

In 2008, when The Whitney revisited his designs, and The New Yorker did as well, Elizabeth Kolbert wrote, “By staging the retrospective, the Whitney raises—or, really, one should say, re-raises—the question of Fuller’s relevance. Was he an important cultural figure because he produced inventions of practical value or because he didn’t?”

You can find more of the ol' Buckminster's designs right here, and don't forget to check out the floating cities he started to design after the dome era faded.