105 W. Williams Street, Apex
The Apex Dome was built in 1960 by Raleigh architect Dale Blosser and owner Louis C. Smith of Apex. It is a local adaptation of a geodesic dome. Geodesic domes were invented by Buckminster Fuller and were developed in Raleigh, NC by his company, Synergetics, Inc. and in collaboration with faculty and alumni of the Design Scholl at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University). The Apex Dome is an example of Buckminster Fuller’s “world architecture,” his global vision of the installation of mass-produced, patented geodesic domes. The architect of the Apex Dome, Dale A. Blosser (1927-1982), earned a B.S. in Architecture from the School of Design at North Carolina State College in 1956. Blosser was a student at State during a time when the School of Design was one of the nation’s foremost progressive design schools pioneering modernist architecture and when Buckminster Fuller was leading annual teaching seminars there. Blosser later worked as a manager and architect on nationally-renowned projects with Synergetics, Inc. Blosser designed the Apex Dome around the geodesic dome roof. The roof is a “Peasedome,” which is a specific type of geodesic dome constructed from plywood kit from the Pease Woodworking Company of Hamilton, Ohio, a well-known supplier of Buckminster Fuller-licensed geodesic domes. Blosser also designed the porch that encircles the building, adding a quintessentially rural North Carolina feature to the structure. The tin shingles that cover the roof today were installed approximately one year after the Dome’s completion, as the plywood roof quickly developed leaks. These tin shingles also add a local building tradition to this unusual structure. The Apex Dome is the only known Peasedome in Wake County, and possibly in North Carolina. The Apex Dome is significant for its representation of Buckminster Fuller’s vision of “world architecture” and its association with the innovative design community at North Carolina State University. The Apex Dome also signifies Apex’s shift in the mid-20th century from a railroad-oriented community to an automobile and highway-oriented community.