Al Gowan • Cambridge, MA • • (SIU Design 1953-55, and fall of 1959)
Design at Southern Illinois University
mostly Indians, but some chiefs, too. Just after lunch one day, Bucky strode into class and asked for volunteers to help build his house. Most of us had planned to go home for vacation and some money. Bucky blinked his giant, blue eyes. "We could build it in a day." Although I was not there to see it, on April i9th, at the corner of Forest and Cherry streets, Fuller's 37’ Pease Dome was assembled. The slab floor had been poured a week before with the plumbing, heating, and electrical outlets roughed in. As the builders lifted prefabricated, pentagonal sections into place. Bucky talked about housing. He said the acute housing shortage could be solved if the banks would just finance his portable, easy-to-assemble domes. Another day, Elsa Kula handed out a song sheet. Together, we sang Bucky's new lyrics for "Home on the Range. That semester my mind was buzzing but I had a family of four to support and I could not do it in Carbondale. So, by December I had accepted a job at another midwestern university. On moving day, I was sad to be leaving Carbondale. I wished I'd had one of Bucky's domes in tow. By January 10, 1964, the same day Bucky Fuller appeared on the cover of Time magazine, I started my first teaching job at Indiana University. Many decades, and four teaching jobs later, Bucky's ideas are still pertinent to me. I explained to students in Design History how his earlier utilization of military production facilities can still produce transportation and housing. One day, on my way to my class at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, I remembered another thing Bucky said that day in 1959. You must either be concerned with making sense or making money.” I still believe that too.
ROAM HOME TO A DOME By R. Buckminster Fuller (to the tune of Home on the Range) 1. Let architects sing of aesthetics that bring Rich clients in hordes to their knees: Just give me a home in a great circle dome Where stresses and strains are at ease. Chorus: Rome home to a dome Where Georgian and Gothic once stood: Now chemical bonds alone guard our blondes And even the plumbing looks good. 2. Let modern folks dream of glass boxes with steam Out along super-burbia way; Split levels, split loans, dual breadwinner homes No down payment, decades to pay. Chorus: Roam home to a dome No banker would back with a dime; No mortgage to show, No payments to go Where you dream, dwell and spend your own time. 3. There once was a square with a romantic flair Pure Beaux Arts-Mckim, Meade & White. In the mood that ensued he went factory nude- Mies, Gropius, Corbu and Wright. Chorus: Roam home to a dome On the crest of a neighboring hill; Where the chores are all done before they're begun And eclectic nonsense in nil.
A Baptist Meets Bucky - continued By Al Gowan