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Geodesic dome home in Lafayette asks $889K

We hear it’s being priced on a curve

A geodesic dome house with a shingled roof and angular windows. Courtesy Dina Del Monica, Pacific Union

SFMOMA paid tribute to geodesic dome innovator Buckminster Fuller back in 2012, but relatively few Fuller-style dome houses ever rolled onto Bay Area lots.

There is, however, the case of Lafayette’s 1750 Toyon to consider, a two bed, two bath dome house circa 1978 now asking $889,000. (Perhaps not as round of a sum as buyers might anticipate under the circumstances.)

The new ad for the domed domicile overlooking Diablo Valley touts its original green credentials by way of recycled wood interiors as well as its “unique design.”

Which of course is putting it mildly—this place is a hot mess, albeit in a way that might verge on a crazy kind of brilliance, with the shingled roof of its central hub structure giving way to banks of polyhedronal windows with a spreading fan of beams overhead.

Once inside, the classic geodesic design stands out in much sharper relief and things starts to look a bit less scattered, although the geodesic look is always pretty busy even as it most reserved.

According to the BBC, “A geodesic dome is a spherical structure composed of triangular elements forming part of a network of circles, or ‘geodesics’, on the surface.”

KQED notes that the first such structure came by way of a German planetarium in 1926, but it was Massachusetts-born inventor Buckminster Fuller who truly championed the design.

Fuller’s domes were lightweight, mass produced, and versatile. He wrote in 1928:

“These new homes are structured after the natural system of humans and trees with a central stem or backbone, from which all else is independently hung, utilizing gravity instead of opposing it. This results in a construction similar to an airplane, light, taut, and profoundly strong."

1750 Toyon appears to be a meditation on Fuller’s triangular treatments rather than a reproduction of one of his actual designs. Actually, more than anything it looks like someone planted a Fuller dome right on top of an existing structure.

The Huffington Post noted earlier this year that while you can find dome homes all over the country, their popularity peaked more than 40 years, and often the overlapping seams of their signature ceilings will spring leaks in spring rains.

But not all geodesics are created equal, and we can’t assume any problem with these ones. Those with a hankering to finally join the domeowners association will have to investigate for themselves.