The dome is interesting not only aesthetically or mathematically, but also philosophically and spiritually. Everything that man does is, in a sense, a statement of his outlook on life. A stiff mind will generally be attracted to straight, not curved, lines. A materialistic person, attached as his is to solid matter, will be inclined to construct firm, heavy buildings – reflections of his own vision of a world that will endure forever.* Insular people, fancying reality to be no larger than their own definitions of it, like their homes to box them in cozily, shutting out their minds from the vast universe outside.
We have come, in this Twentieth Century, to a time of increasing mental fluidity, and of decreasing reliance upon solid matter as the ultimate and abiding reality. We have come to any age, finally, when our metal concepts are seen, not as realities in themselves, but only as our humble efforts to reach out and touch the hem of a much greater reality that we can only dimly comprehend.
The dome is expressive of our new approach to the universe. It is in harmony with the scientific concept that space itself is curved. In its roundness it represents our modern desire for continuous metal expansion, for reaching out to the universe instead of boxing ourselves in protectively against its immensity.
The dome seems in some way to be more conductive to the metal and spiritual harmony of the dome dweller, perhaps because its more natural shape helps to attune him with nature instead of alienating him from it. Boxed houses belonged to an age when men stood in opposition to the world around them, in competition, as it were, with nature and the universe.
Dome structures belong better to this age of growing awareness of man’s need to cooperate with nature if he is to progress further, or even to survive the destructive forces that his competitive spirit has unleased.
*From the beginning of man, the Scythians, Indians, Eskimos, Africans and Mongols have all built domes with available local materials rather than abstract ideas, computers, geodesics, or math. Their domes are beautiful and organic. Natural architecture endures forever.