Sitting near displays of mechanized farm equipment and massive Industrial Age machinery, the Dymaxion House still feels a bit out of place. Imagine, if you will, a street lined with these shining domes. Well, yeah, nobody really could. The Dymaxion House was way ahead of its time in some respects and ridiculous rather than practical in its attempt to modernize housing. Luckily, we have one to tour at the Henry Ford Museum.
First designed back in the 1930s by Buckminster Fuller, the Dymaxion House was an exercise in solving practical problems with housing. Fuller redesigned his grain silo inspired concept in 1945 to take advantage of the excess aircraft factory output left over after World War II. The outer skin is made of aluminum sheets and Plexiglas, strung together with high tension wire and mounted to a single shaft in the middle. The homes could be quickly assembled on site and featured innovations, such as a gray water rain recycling system and a natural venting system to keep the building cool in summer. There was just one glaring problem: it looked like a space ship.
While Fuller was never quite satisfied with the design, two models were created, though never built as complete houses. The pieces were donated to the Henry Ford Museum where they were restored and finally built into a nearly complete home for guests to tour. Inside the Dymaxion house, visitors walk through the bedroom to see some of the built in features, an open room where the innards can be viewed, and the basic layout of the kitchen. The decorated living room is visible from the outside.
Read about a few more unique items in the Henry Ford Museum collection