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When the artist Alex Hartley built a geodesic dome out of scrap metal for his 2011 exhibition at Victoria Miro, he invoked Drop City, an iconic northern Colorado commune of the mid-1960s. Drop City achieved sudden fame in 1965 through the patronage of Buckminster Fuller. Patronage is perhaps too emphatic – Bucky gave the Droppers $500 because they wrote to him. But by 1967 it had become one of the nodes on an international freak network, spoken in the same breath as the UFO Club in London or Haight-Ashbury. It had its own festival (‘Joy’) in June 1967. Even the normally stuffy architecture journals hit on it, big time. Even if hardly anyone actually went, it was, no question, a place to be. For most, Bucky’s dome was best known as a scheme to seal Manhattan from the elements under a structure of truly Biblical proportions, Man’s final triumph over…

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About Richard J Williams

Professor of contemporary visual cultures and head of history of art at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Books on cities include 'The Anxious City' (Routledge, 2004), 'Brazil' (Reaktion 2009), 'Regenerating Culture and Society' (edited with Jonathan Harris, LUP 2010), and 'Sex and Buildings' (Reaktion, 2013). Writing a new book about Reyner Banham.

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