Racing boat builder Goetz Composites has crafted many icons of the sea, including ten America’s Cup boats. Now, the company is trying its hand at architectural icons. Several months ago, Goetz began the restoration of Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, one of only three existing prototypes of the prefabricated shelters that the designer patented in 1965. The piece, a 24-foot-wide fiberglass shell with Plexiglas eyes, had been neglected for years and arrived at Goetz’s Bristol, Rhode Island, headquarters with chipped corners, peeling paint, and a patina of mold.
The dome is owned by Design Miami’s founder Craig Robbins, who restored the piece in anticipation of Art Basel | Miami Beach and Design Miami 2011. After being contacted by Dan Reiser and John Warren, who fabricated the original dome prototypes with Fuller, and the Buckminster Fuller Institute, Goetz was eager to participate in the project. “The challenge was to renew the piece, but keep the spirit and the original intent,” said Eric Goetz, the company’s chief technology officer.