CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Many people might not be excited to have two large ceramic dogs arrive at their home, but for the members of the R. Buckminster Fuller Dome Not-For-Profit, the dogs - and other artifacts that came with them - are quite exciting.
The foo dogs, or lion dogs, were owned by R. Buckminster and Anne Fuller and sat in the living room area of their dome home in Carbondale when they lived there. In Chinese culture, they are believed to protect the building and the people within it.
The dogs were part of a donation delivered recently to the RBF Dome NFP from the Fuller family, daughter Allegra Fuller-Snyder and her children, Alexandria Snyder and Jamie Snyder.
The donation was part of the R. Buckminster Fuller archives, better known as the Dymaxion Chronofile. The Dymaxion Chronofile was Buckminster Fuller’s attempt to document his life as completely as possible.
Fuller was an inventor and academic who taught at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in the 1960s. The RBF Dome NFP has been working to restore the geodesic dome-shaped house he built in Carbondale.
Included in the donation were 3,500 books Fuller had at his Carbondale “dome home” and office as well as numerous artifacts and furniture. The donation included Anne Fuller’s writing desk, a large woodcut that hung on the loft rails, a set of chairs designed by Charles Eames and a rustic wooden table. Some of the books are signed by the author with a note to the Fullers. Others have notations made by Fuller as he studied them.
Thad Heckman and Ed Cook held the large woodcut in the place it would hang to show others gathered to help move the artifacts.
“This is something because we didn’t think we’d ever get these,” Heckman said.
Heckman said the group knows where many of the items were in the home based on the work of the late Ben Gelman, a photographer, editor and columnist for The Southern Illinoisan. Gelman lived in the neighborhood when the Fullers built the dome and moved in. He documented the structure being built in 1960 and activities at the home, as well as the furnishings within.
“Ben Gelman took a bookcase photo. I can zoom in and read a lot of the titles. We’re going to put books back in their original position, thanks to the photo,” Heckman said.
Jon Daniel Davey, president of RBF Dome NFP, said opening the crates was kind of like opening King Tut’s tomb.
“There are many artifacts we never thought we’d get,” Heckman said.
Benjamin Lowder, director of the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability at SIU Edwardsville and member of the RBF Dome NFP, made several trips to Santa Barbara and drove the artifacts back to Carbondale. As he worked to transport the items, wildfires could be seen in the hills behind the facility.
“Some of the boxes still have soot on them,” he said.
Lowder took on the task of cataloging the books that were donated. Around 500 books will be placed on the curved bookcase that lines the loft. The remaining volumes will reside at Morris Library on the SIU campus in Carbondale.
“We’re hoping they will provide a great resource for scholarly research,” Lowder said.
Lowder believes the artifacts return a little of Fuller’s energy to the dome home.
“This helps people connect his legacy to Southern Illinois and to SIU,” Lowder said.
He added that Southern Illinois is the most important location in the Buckminster Fuller legacy. It is where he did his most important work. Fuller spent 12 years as a professor at SIU.
“This project has involved the City of Carbondale, Landmarks Illinois, the American Institute of Architects and now SIU. We will take 3,000 books to Morris Library this afternoon,” Davey said.
The group plans to have an open house when the restoration work on the home is complete.
Source: The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan, https://bit.ly/3aeryf7
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