Under Threat: The Dome at Nautilus Motor Inn
by Richard Buckminster Fuller, Peter Floyd and William Wainwright, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, US, 1953-1954
DATE: 1/1/2019
Docomomo International appeals to your foremost concern and interest regarding the threat the Dome at Nautilus Motor Inn, developed by†Richard Buckminster Fuller, Peter Floyd and William Wainwright, is currently facing.

Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) was a renowned architect, engineer, inventor and philosopher, all of which led to the development of the geodesic dome inspired by Fullerís interest in developing more sustainable building forms.†
Following many years of research and the construction of models, Fuller began to construct temporary geodesic structures in the early 1950s with university students in workshops across the country.†
The geodesic dome in Woods Hole was the first commissioned construction of a Fuller-designed dome that was intended to be permanent. The Dome was commissioned by local Falmouth architect E. Gunnar Peterson to serve as a restaurant for the mid-century Modern motel complex that he designed and built on land overlooking Little Harbor - the Nautilus Motor Inn.†

The Dome was constructed in the summer of 1953 following prefabrication of the lumber panels at MIT. Fuller was present and oversaw the construction of the Dome in Falmouth. The building was completed and opened as a restaurant in 1954.†
Seven years after the domeís construction, Fuller received a patent for a plywood dome using similar geometry.†

The Dome has been vacant since 2002, when the Nautilus Motor Inn was sold to Nautilus Partners, LLC. In 2016, the property was sold to Longfellow Design Build owner Mark R. Bogosian and partner Jonathan J. Janikies.†

The Dome and its ells are in remarkably sound structural condition considering the unique nature of the construction and the fact that it has been vacant for more than a decade now.

This Dome is the oldest extant example of a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller, constructed with wood framing members. It is also a unique example of a Fuller dome employing the rhombic system, subsequent domes employed triangular panel systems.†

Docomomo International wishes to express its full support to the ongoing efforts to save this delicate building by both the Board of the Dome at Woods Hole and Docomomo US,†believing that†it stands as an example of modern architecture which deserves to be respectfully kept.