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TC Howard of Synergetics, Inc

Katrina Howard Fairley Oct 2, 2011 10:24 AM
Posted in group: Geodesic Help Group
To everyone who thinks Buckminster Fuller designed any of Synergetics,
Inc domes:  He did not.  Thomas C. Howard is and always has been the
primary designer, architect and, later the primary engineer for
Synergetics, Inc from 1955 until it closed in 2006.  Bucky met James
Fitzgibbon an architect and professor at NC State in 1949 while he was
at Black Mountain.  NC State's design school was new(1948).
Fitzgibbon invited Bucky to guest speak.  The staff and students were
quite taken with Bucky's ideas and invited him back several times.
Duncan Stuart was also a professor at NC State.  He began playing with
Bucky's mathematics for the geodesic dome.  TC Howard was a student,
but Bucky considered him a colleague.  Most of the early work on
geodesic domes was developed in Raleigh, NC.  TC and Duncan helped
Bucky design the Ford Rotunda.  In 1954, Fitzgibbon quit teaching and
opened Geodesics, Inc in Raleigh to design military work.  In 1955,
when TC returned from the army, Synergetics, Inc was formed to design
commercial work.   Bucky was President of both companies.  The same
staff and the same offices.  Bucky never lived in Raleigh, NC  and
Bucky was not an architect.  Most of the staff were architectural
students. Jim Fitzgibbon was a licensed architect.  Dr. M. E. Uyanik
was a structural engineer at NC State; he was their consulting
engineer.  Bucky did not design domes for Synergetics, Inc.  He would
lecture around the world and people would ask him to design a dome and
he would send them to Synergetics, Inc.Synergetics, Inc designed the
US Information Agency domes that went to third world countries to
promote US democracy. (Kabul Dome) Then Bucky's friend at Union Tank
Car asked him to design a maintenance facility.  Again, TC Howard and
Synergetics, Inc designed and built the world's largest geodesic dome
and Bucky took full credit.(1958).  Bucky stepped down as president of
Synergetics, Inc and sold all of his stock to Fitzgibbon, TC and
Barnwell.  Barnwell was Synergetics, Inc site representative at the
UTC dome in Baton Rouge.  The ASM Headquarter Geodesic Dome  in
Material Park was being designed by TC Howard (built dec 1958).  The
Climatron was also around this same time.  (Designed by TC Howard)
The Woods River dome was built from the design of the UTC dome ( Lehr
altered the design).
TC Howard switched majors from architecture to nuclear engineering in
1955.  In 1958 TC passed the architectural boards and graduated  at
NCSU  with a BS in nuclear engineering.  In 1961, Synergetics, Inc
designed the Ford Geodesic dome at the Seattle World's Fair.  They
also designed the geodesic screen for the Boeing Spacearium and the
World of Tomorrow exhibit and Bubbleator.  1964, Synergetics, Inc
designed the Pavilion ageodesic dome for the NY World's Fair.  It was
the Winston Churchill Pavilion in 1965.  When the NY Fair closed the
dome was put in storage. In 1968, it was converted into the Queens Zoo
Other geodesic domes by TC Howard of Synergetics, Inc. are the
Oaxtepec Greenhouse.  Very similar to the Climatron.  And the largest
geodesic dome, the Poliedro de Caracas in Venezuela.  (469' largest in

So please, when writing about geodesic domes, know that TC Howard was
Synergetics, Inc Primary designer, architect, engineer and owner; not
Buckminster Fuller.