domes (15)

Icosahedral Pumpkin and Model

We recently got a letter from architect James Horecka, parts of which are excerpted below:

I figured I’d recreate a geodesic pumpkin that I had carved-up back around 1990, shortly after I visited the Buckminster Fuller Institute (back when it was still in Los Angeles).

…on Monday morning, I came up with the idea of making a Geodesic Jack out of EMT, as I had some laying around. Over three evenings of a few hours each, I knocked it out.

The basics:

  • 1v Icosahedron (obviously).
  • Struts: 8″ long pieces of ½″ EMT. Two 10′ sticks yielded the 30 struts required.
  • End tabs flattened in my 20-ton hydraulic press. They are long because I was originally going to just stack the joints, ‘Burner’ style.
  • At the last minute, I decided to use hubs instead of stacking (cleaner look, less hassle). The steel discs are 2¾″ diameter cover plates for repairing holes where operating hardware has been removed.
  • I drafted the Hub templates CADD; glued to the metal, center-punched, drilled, and deburred.
  • Fasteners are ¼-20 × ½″ stove bolts & nuts.
  • Two-tone paint: Honey inside (flesh), Amber outside (skin), plus Black.

Anyway: Creating this from scratch over just a few evenings was good fun.

I’ll probably go back and make another dozen hub plates, for the inside face of each node. With those and the bolts & nuts painted black, the assembly will look a little sharper still. Though now that Halloween is over, I’ve no idea what to do with this thing until next year! Cat House?

P.S.: I continue to enjoy reading your books. Cover-to-cover, one after another.

Sincerely,

James Horecka, AIA
Staff Architect, A&FE
Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

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Interior of Geodesic Dome, 1969

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Fisheye of the interior of a plywood and vinyl geodesic dome built by teenage students at Pacific High School in the Santa Cruz mountains, California, in 1969. The window patterns were great, and made for striking photos, but the domes leaked. I’ve always thought that our work at PHS was in the aesthetic realm, not in the practicality of our designs.

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Martin’s Pod

In the 1969-1970, I ran a dome building program at Pacific High School in the Santa Cruz mountains (above Saratoga). The school had 40 acres and the kids built their own domes to live in. It was pretty wild, and we did have some good moments before it all fell apart in a few years — teenagers away from home for the first time in a drug-rich environment.

Martin Bartlett was the music teacher and he built the only non-geodesic dome for himself. It was constructed by standing sheets of ¼″ plywood on end, trimmed on the upper edges so they could be pulled over and joined at the top. Martin then covered it with cedar shingles, installing a circular plexiglas skylight in the center. The design was by Bob McElroy, who had built one in Big Sur.

The school — teenagers building their own homes — resonated with the press in those days. Life magazine came and took photos, and Time published an article on us. I’m working on and off on a book on the ’60s and it will include the Pacific High School story.

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Whole Earth Catalog’s 50th Anniversary

Here’s a video made for the occasion. I was the shelter editor for several incarnations of the Catalog, including The Whole Earth Epilog.

“Meet the creators of the Whole Earth Catalog and the community they inspired. This video history of the Whole Earth culture covers 50 years of collective innovation in just 38 minutes.

“Whole Earth Flashbacks” takes you on a dazzling journey through time, from the first Whole Earth Catalogs to the Co-Evolution Quarterly, the Whole Earth Review, the Hackers Conference, the Well, Cyberthon, Wired, Burning Man and the 10,000 Year Clock, to name but a few.

These projects have one thing in common: they gave access to tools and ideas to help people bring their dreams to life — and change the world together.

This video retrospective features many creative minds and thought leaders: Stewart Brand, Jay Baldwin, Stephanie Mills, Lloyd Kahn, Ted Nelson, Doug Adams, Steven Levy, Andy Hertzfeld, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, Wavy Gravy, Kevin Kelly, Larry Harvey, Danny Hillis and Steve Jobs, in order of appearance.

Whole Earth Flashbacks was created by Fabrice Florin, with the help of over 60 community members…. Our video premiered at the 50th Anniversary of the Whole Earth Catalog on October 13, 2018, at Fort Mason in San Francisco.…”

https://vimeo.com/album/5479545/video/294878432

(In the 2nd row of the above collage, 2nd from left, is a fisheye shot of me in my dome at Pacific High School in 1968.)

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My Take on the ’60s

Jim Morrison said once that when they (The Doors) finished a record, only then were they released to start thinking about the next one. When I finished Small Homes, I couldn’t think what to do next. I’d sort of run the gamut of 9″x12′ building books, each with about color 1000 photos, from Home Work to Small Homes. Retire? No way! I’m just getting warmed up.

About the same time there was an explosion of articles, TV specials, museum exhibits, and conferences rehashing “The Summer of Love.” (Yes, I know I’ve written this before, but I’m further into it all now.)

Since my take on the years was so different from everything being written or presented, I decided to write my own version of the ’60s. (I was there.) The project seemed to gather momentum as I proceeded. I started having fun. I hadn’t looked back at those times in any sort of organized way, and I found myself not only marveling at what happened, but having new insights with the perspective of 5 decades.

Plus, the 60s weren’t an abstraction for me. The concepts, the spirit, the new knowledge profoundly changed my life. (I just realized this now.)

Stop, children, what’s that sound,

Everybody look—what’s going down.

                             -Buffalo Springfield

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