A Necessary Ruin: The Story of Buckminster Fuller and the Union Tank Car Dome
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610
This documentary film chronicles the history of Buckminster Fuller's Union Tank Car Maintenance Facility—a geodesic dome built north of Baton Rouge that served as a railroad roundhouse. When completed in 1958, it was Fuller's first industrial geodesic dome and the largest free-span structure in the world. Due to a change in the standard length of railroad cars during the 1960s, the dome was abandoned in the 1970s. The structure then sat as an intriguing modern ruin until its owner demolished it under public protest in 2007. The film consists of interviews with architects, preservationists, politicians, media, and artists to tell a compelling story about the dome's place in Louisiana's industrial landscape and its significance to the community. The film also contains hundreds of rare photographs of the dome's construction and decline—and video shot before and during its demolition.
Evan Mather is a filmmaker, landscape architect, and Graham Foundation–recipient known for his genre-bending short films. His work has screened at film festivals, on television, in print, on NPR, and is the subject of a retrospective at the Seattle Art Museum.
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