How old is the Geodesic Dome in Poly Canyon and how much did it cost?
The structure has weathered rain, wind, earthquakes and grazing cattle over the years and still is an inspiration when you visit it. It has survived better than newer structures in the canyon now being restored or allowed to fall to the ground.
The picture caption outlines one plan to line the dome with plastic and make it an exhibit hall. Another plan was to make the structure a chapel. The shell still remains to pour your imagination into.
Answers to the questions are in this article from the 25th Poly Royal. This story excerpt is from the then Telegram-Tribune, April 25, 1957.
Architects Will Feature Fuller Dome
Cal Poly’s revolutionary Geodesic Dome, which may eventually become a college chapel, will be featured by the architectural engineering department at the 25th anniversary Poly Royal.
At present it is the west coast’s first permanent structure of this type.
The 50-foot dome, creation of famed architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and assembled by members of the department, has a curved tubular steel top that follows the shape of the earth, hence the term “Geodesic.” Into the dome’s preparation went over 10,000 nuts, bolts and washers holding approximately one mile of one-inch pipe together. One hundred students were required to shift the 6,000-pound shell into its present position.
Cal Poly’s student Inter-faith council is now working in cooperation with the college administration toward eventual use of the unusual structure as a college chapel.
Counting the free manpower and scrap metal used, construction costs were only $200, according to George Hasslin, architectural department head.
Project designers on the dome were seniors Bill Roth of San Luis Obispo, Dick Neill of Santa Ana, Don Tanklage of Redwood City, Don Mills of Ventura and Sam Peterson of Santa Maria.
Another major attraction is a “teardrop-shaped” fireplace, an 18-foot innovation completed by majors Clyde Marsh of Riverside and Ray Birge of Weaverville as a senior project.
Senior exhibits include two model displays of an auditorium and theater layout for Monterey, drawings showing proposed additions to a tract home (the drawings were featured recently in the homes section of the San Francisco Chronicle) and watercolors and sketches of an architectural engineering building for Cal Poly.
Junior year exhibits include drawings of one-hald square mile zoo designed for the Santa Barbara area, a pre-school nursery for San Luis Obispo, a back yard development—organic and inorganic, and a San Francisco house on a 25-foot by 150-foot lot.