My real building history began in the summer of 1972, then in my early 20’s. I’ve decided not to rag on about the wallpapered tree huts and ground forts cobbled together as a boy . . . but they were a slice too!
The geodesic dome depicted here in the four scanned images, was a 24ft. OD, Buckminster Fuller design from Popular Science mag. of ’72. It was a 450 sq. ft., 5/8’s sphere constructed of spruce 2×4’s, ½” fir ply with single glazed plexiglass windows and 2″ styrofoam insulation. Not the picture of energy efficiency but in ’72, not many knew differently. Regular gasoline was probably about $0.39/imperial gallon! Them were the daze.
The hexagons and pentagons were bolted together on site. That’s my first truck in the background, a 1949 Merc. 1T, which like early English 4-bangers always needed a valve job. It pulled a trailer with all the sections nearly 100 mi. from my home of Oshawa to the 70A. in Moira, ON and promptly got stuck on the hill. Not enough power to mount the podium.
The dome was entirely constructed with a Delta radial arm saw & Shopsmith multi-tool in my mother’s garage and on the driveway. I cut my teeth using the drill press capacity and table saw of the Shopsmith. Foundation was a slab on grade with 18″ extended footings around the perimeter.
The interior walls were unfinished 3/8″ yellow birch plywood with solid birch 1/4″x3/4″ edge battens. The light was rescued from an old one room schoolhouse and housed a 300W incandescent bulb. Again, I like to see but there was no sense of conservation back then for jayöh. One may also notice from this scanned b&w image, a storage and guest sleeping loft. We slept below on a bed chesterfield.
It was fully modern with plumbing, electric fan heating, as well as a Valley Comfort wood stove. The exterior of the dome was ON white cedar shingles over 15 lb. felt. Like most domes, the building leaked like a sieve, but it was home for several years until an addition was added for our first born.
I am, John Ötvös aka jayöh.