Friday, August 26, 2016

the world's fair ball

“When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

Two weeks ago I went to a talk on visionary architect and futurist Buckminster Fuller with my friend Darryl.

So of course I had to visit the Biosphere in Montreal. 

Originally an acrylic and steel geodesic dome created to house the American Pavillion for Expo 67, Biosphere was the most popular attraction and was filled with art by painters like Andy Warhol (!). 

Lyndon Johnson came to the dedication. Montreal archives from Expo 67 (en français)

The acrylic caught on fire and it burned in 1976, the year Montreal hosted the Summer Olympics. 
Another horrifying photo of the fire via my friend Annie: 

The original dome was never repaired. Now the metal is open air. 
Even the subway stop has brutalist flair.

The site was neglected for 20 years until 1995 when it was reopened as an environmental museum with a focus on water. 

Today it's the only museum in North America devoted to environmental issues. Though admittedly I was mostly dazzled by the architecture and setting. 

Fuller had some radical ideas about building affordable housing and communities. 
Pull up a chair.

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.”

You might also look up the disastrous Biosphere 2 project in Arizona, partially inspired by Biosphere.