CARBONDALE — A group of architecture students at SIU are working to preserve an icon of one of the university’s most influential professors.
Students hope to make the miniature “Bucky Dome” that sits on the south side of Quigley Hall part of permanent fixture on cam-pus. The 20-foot steel geodesic dome was erected in March 2010 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Buckminster Fuller Dome.
The dome is owned by Dome Inc. of Minneapolis. Blair Wolfram, owner of Dome Inc., said he was hoping to sell the roughly $18,000 dome, but is considering donating it if SIU were to establish a permanent memorial to Fuller.
Fuller was a renowned inventor and visionary, and taught at SIU from the 1950s until the 1970s.
“I can’t understand why Southern Illinois University doesn’t embrace Bucky,” said Wolfram. “He was a brilliant thinker and contributed to huge social issues, and southern doesn’t embrace it. It’s a missed opportunity.”
Brad Schulze, a sophomore in the architecture program, said the student group is hoping to raise about $15,000 to keep the dome on campus. The money would be used to create a concrete pad and memorial plaque on the south west side of Quigley Hall, which would serve as a permanent location for the structure.
Schulze said attempts by School of Architecture Professor Jon Davey to secure funding for the project have been unsuccessful, so students are attempting to raise the funds through donations.
Davey could not be reached for comment. Both the chancellor’s office and the School of Architecture said they had no knowledge of the effort to keep the dome on campus.
Schulze said the group of students has created a Facebook page, “Save the Bucky Dome,” contacted the alumni association and is in the process of establishing a Kickstarter page to raise the money.
Schulze said with Fuller being considered the most influential person from SIU, the university has an opportunity to make a name for itself.
“If this is done, and there is a plaque, this will be the only formal memorial to Buckminster Fuller,” he said. “Putting that on the SIU campus will get us known. The university wants more students, so why have not the only memorial on our campus to attract people.”