The O’Malley - Fuller Connection

By Brent Shyer
  • For his expansive body of work, R. Buckminster Fuller received 47 honorary degrees and was awarded 25 U.S. patents. Fuller was honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a postage stamp, which made its debut on July 12, 2004, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of his patent for the geodesic dome.For his expansive body of work, R. Buckminster Fuller received 47 honorary degrees and was awarded 25 U.S. patents. Fuller was honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a postage stamp, which made its debut on July 12, 2004, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of his patent for the geodesic dome.©2004 USPS
  • Whetting Walter O’Malley’s appetite for a possible dome stadium in Brooklyn to replace aging Ebbets Field was an article he read titled “The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller,” which was reprinted in American Fabrics, Spring 1953. O’Malley wrote a letter to Fuller on May 26, 1955 to pursue the idea.Whetting Walter O’Malley’s appetite for a possible dome stadium in Brooklyn to replace aging Ebbets Field was an article he read titled “The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller,” which was reprinted in American Fabrics, Spring 1953. O’Malley wrote a letter to Fuller on May 26, 1955 to pursue the idea.
  • Two views of inventor R. Buckminster Fuller’s 1954 patent for the geodesic dome.Two views of inventor R. Buckminster Fuller’s 1954 patent for the geodesic dome.
  • Walter and Kay O’Malley at the family greenhouse in Amityville, New York, where the Dodger President enjoyed spending time cultivating exotic orchids. O’Malley likened the concept of a translucent dome stadium to that of the “interior effect of the sort one finds in a greenhouse.”Walter and Kay O’Malley at the family greenhouse in Amityville, New York, where the Dodger President enjoyed spending time cultivating exotic orchids. O’Malley likened the concept of a translucent dome stadium to that of the “interior effect of the sort one finds in a greenhouse.”
  • Another view of the large scale dome stadium model, produced by Fuller and his graduate architect students at Princeton University, for the Dodgers in Brooklyn. Miniature players even took their positions on the mock field.Another view of the large scale dome stadium model, produced by Fuller and his graduate architect students at Princeton University, for the Dodgers in Brooklyn. Miniature players even took their positions on the mock field.Courtesy of Department Special Collections Stanford University Library
  • An article by Frank Tinsley in the July 1956 <em>Mechanix Illustrated</em> titled “A Dome Grows In Brooklyn” described the separate but fascinating dome designs of R. Buckminster Fuller and graduate student T. William Kleinsasser, Jr., along with Tinsley’s rendering of the possible shape of the Brooklyn Sports Center Authority dome.An article by Frank Tinsley in the July 1956 Mechanix Illustrated titled “A Dome Grows In Brooklyn” described the separate but fascinating dome designs of R. Buckminster Fuller and graduate student T. William Kleinsasser, Jr., along with Tinsley’s rendering of the possible shape of the Brooklyn Sports Center Authority dome.
  • The concept for O’Malley’s translucent dome stadium in Brooklyn “was to be supported by a lightweight aluminum truss structure some 300 feet above the pitchers mound, high enough to cover a 30-story building.” It would have enabled sunlight to shine through, much the same as a greenhouse.The concept for O’Malley’s translucent dome stadium in Brooklyn “was to be supported by a lightweight aluminum truss structure some 300 feet above the pitchers mound, high enough to cover a 30-story building.” It would have enabled sunlight to shine through, much the same as a greenhouse.Courtesy of Department Special Collections Stanford University Library
  • This clipping from the <em>New York Mirror</em> on November 23, 1955 shows Walter O’Malley, and R. Buckminster Fuller admiring the all-weather dome model along with (far left) student T. William Kleinsasser, Jr., who made the dome design problem his master’s thesis and (far right) Robert W. McLaughlin, Jr., director of the Princeton University School of Architecture.This clipping from the New York Mirror on November 23, 1955 shows Walter O’Malley, and R. Buckminster Fuller admiring the all-weather dome model along with (far left) student T. William Kleinsasser, Jr., who made the dome design problem his master’s thesis and (far right) Robert W. McLaughlin, Jr., director of the Princeton University School of Architecture.
  • In November 1955, R. Buckminster Fuller’s graduate architect students at Princeton University made a dome stadium model for possible use by the Dodgers in Brooklyn. Walter O’Malley visited Princeton to view the model prepared by the students under the direction of Fuller.In November 1955, R. Buckminster Fuller’s graduate architect students at Princeton University made a dome stadium model for possible use by the Dodgers in Brooklyn. Walter O’Malley visited Princeton to view the model prepared by the students under the direction of Fuller.
  • Walter O’Malley, President of the Dodgers, reviewed the proposed Harris County Sports Stadium, better known later as the Houston Astrodome, on October 18, 1960 when the National League owners voted to grant Houston and New York franchises. Along with O’Malley at the meeting were (left to right) Robert Carpenter, Phillies owner; Gabe Paul, Reds General Manager; Phil Wrigley, Cubs owner; and Joe L. Brown, Pirates General Manager.Walter O’Malley, President of the Dodgers, reviewed the proposed Harris County Sports Stadium, better known later as the Houston Astrodome, on October 18, 1960 when the National League owners voted to grant Houston and New York franchises. Along with O’Malley at the meeting were (left to right) Robert Carpenter, Phillies owner; Gabe Paul, Reds General Manager; Phil Wrigley, Cubs owner; and Joe L. Brown, Pirates General Manager.Courtesy of University of Southern California, on behalf of the USC Specialized Libraries and Archival Collections
  • The Houston Astrodome, built at a cost of $35 million, was home to the Astros from 1965-99. Before building the Astrodome, Houston owner Judge Roy Hofheinz consulted with Walter O’Malley and what the Dodger President had learned from his early study for a dome stadium in Brooklyn.The Houston Astrodome, built at a cost of $35 million, was home to the Astros from 1965-99. Before building the Astrodome, Houston owner Judge Roy Hofheinz consulted with Walter O’Malley and what the Dodger President had learned from his early study for a dome stadium in Brooklyn.Barry Howe Photography Copyright © 1992
  • The Louisiana Superdome was the brainchild of New Orleans businessman Dave Dixon, who had the vision of building the finest dome stadium with year-round events. As a young man, Dixon read about Walter O’Malley’s interaction with R. Buckminster Fuller to design a dome stadium in Brooklyn. Years later, Dixon built the Superdome and was also the driving force in attracting the NFL to New Orleans in 1966.The Louisiana Superdome was the brainchild of New Orleans businessman Dave Dixon, who had the vision of building the finest dome stadium with year-round events. As a young man, Dixon read about Walter O’Malley’s interaction with R. Buckminster Fuller to design a dome stadium in Brooklyn. Years later, Dixon built the Superdome and was also the driving force in attracting the NFL to New Orleans in 1966.© Bettman/Corbis