Richard Buckminster Fuller, FAIA (1895-1983) – architect, engineer, teacher, poet, cartographer, philosopher, scientist, writer, lecturer, businessman, mathematician, futurist, visionary, inventor, administrator, entrepreneur, designer, and the inventor of the geodesic dome has left a legacy of five beautiful and dramatic structures in the St. Louis region – most notably the Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
A lesser known, and unbuilt, project was the Old Man River City project, An Environmental Domed City (1970-73) for East St. Louis. Designed at the request of his friend, Katherine Dunham, and Wyvetter Younge, and with the help of his friend and colleague, Professor James Fitzgibbon, and faculty and students of Washington University in St. Louis, the final design called for a one-mile diameter dome protecting 125,000 humans in 25,000 earth-sheltered garden homes arranged on 50 terraced levels, along with workspaces, recreation and communal areas.
John C. Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP has researched this project with the original design team members. He has created a digital model of the second design, set in its site context, allowing a variety of views of this monumental project for the first time since the design was created in 1973, 48 years ago.