Philosopher, inventor and mathematician R. Buckminster Fuller created the geodesic dome in 1948. Around the year 2000, Leo Gillis, the brother of famous Detroit musician Jack White (who was half of the now defunct White Stripes and now lives in Nashville), built two of his own geodesic domes. Leo ordered them from a kit offered by American Ingenuity and the pair formed his Detroit house right behind Michigan Grand Central in Corktown. As of this afternoon, that dome home sold to the development team behind 2051 Rosa Parks: Angel Gambino and Scott Griffin. [Full disclosure: that building houses Curbed Detroit HQ and the pair are our landlords.]
Leo has not lived in the domes for several years but there was a feature on the home that ran in the Metro Times in 2005. The article says that he paid $20,000 for a kit of two domes and spent about $90,000 constructing them. Griffin would not disclose the purchase price, but let's just say he got a deal.
Leo had lived in the home with his wife Parkii and two sons but, somewhere along the line got divorced. He left the house when the bank informed him they were going to foreclose on it but a few years later found out that they had, in fact, never foreclosed and needed to clear it from their accounts. A resident of the Chelsea Hotel in New York, Griffin called Corktown-based O'Connor real estate about the domes after he ran across Leo Gillis' name while searching for something called the "New Naples Arrangement." This led him to find that Gillis built and lived in the very dome houses he had admired. Griffin explains that he and Gambino are, "ENORMOUS fans of Buckminster Fuller and had admired the domes for some time. Still today when workers are on-site, folks stop by and want to see inside or ask whether they're for sale. We see these structures as a real visual anchor for this area —expect the unexpected."
American engineer "Bucky" Fuller has a lifelong interests in using technology to revolutionize construction and improve human housing. His geodesic dome system consists of dividing a sphere into equal triangles making a dome that is easier to construct and structurally strong. Fuller insisted upon the minimal use of materials and is know for the Dymaxion™ House, an inexpensive, mass-produced home that could be airlifted to its location as well as the Dymaxion Car, a streamlined, three-wheeled automobile.
As for where the dome home goes from here, Griffin says that there was a small amount of water damage which is easily repaired but more work needed to fix the damage left from vandalism. He thinks the domes would make a spectacular residence for any architecture lover and would like to find a tenant (either residential or commercial) "who can really appreciate the unique design possibilities inherent in the structure."
· Pimp my dome [Metro Times]