‘Domestead’ Homestead

More than a mere oddity, this one-of-a-kind dome home doubles as ‘art that you live in’
Fridays on the Homefront
In classic geodesic-dome style, Los Angeles architect William King designed a special spherical structure in 1982—later to be nicknamed 'Domestead'—using a series of triangles that formed hexagons and pentagons. It is now for sale. All photos by Roger Davies

Dome-shaped homes are an intriguing form of architecture. They also represent a style we don't see often these days.

Most of us associate domes with sci-fi or pop culture icons, like the futuristic symbol of EPCOT at Disney World, Wallace Neff's famed 'bubble houses,' or the U.S. exhibition dome at Expo 67 (now the Montreal Biosphere) designed by architect R. Buckminster Fuller, father of the term 'geodesic dome.'


Fridays on the Homefront
A spiral staircase leads to this bottom level living room.

A fascinating dome-shaped home recently came on the Southern California real estate market, reminding us that dome residences are more than mere oddities; they are an important part of the continuing movement towards sustainable architecture.

What's more, domes' spherical designs have been known to distribute stress evenly, without any support, making them a building type that can be lightweight, energy efficient, and extremely strong.


Fridays on the Homefront
Striking master bedroom.

In 1982, Los Angeles architect William King built a curved dome-icile for Dr. Joy Gaertner, a young pediatrician, in the hills of LA's Glassell Park. In classic geodesic-dome style, King designed Gaertner a spherical structure—later nicknamed 'Domestead'—using a series of triangles that formed hexagons and pentagons.

Built on three levels, Domestead measures 24 feet in diameter, and features a 180-degree, wraparound deck looking out to the San Gabriel Mountains and city skyline. (One can study the dome's construction on the architect's original plans, and when viewed on Google Earth.)


Fridays on the Homefront
On the middle level, there's this timber-framed kitchen with five types of wood.

Represented by Carl Gambino and Ariel Putman of Compass Realty, the 2-bedroom, 2-bath, 1,787-square-foot property is located at 2538 Sundown Drive, and is listed at $2.3 million.

"It's been amazing how many people are reaching out to see the house," says Putman. "Whether you admire art or architecture history, this is art that you live in. Every time I'm there, I feel like I’m seeing something new or discovering a new inspiration."

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