Ragdale Foundation, Illinois, 2019
Idea - Design
The Ragdale Dome reinterprets the 1912 Ragdale Ring built by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw as a magnificent, soaring vault. Whereas the original Ragdale Ring implemented radial and circular motifs to create space, our project manifests in the form of a dome: a three-dimensional materialization of a ring revolving around a central axis.
The project utilizes natural phenomena such as light, sound, and texture to craft an experiential piece of art/architecture that moves beyond aesthetics to an immersive design focused on embodied experience—producing specific sensorial vibrations within the site. Here, form does not follow function, or vice versa, instead form itself is function.
In this sense, the dome harness the power of human myths, memory, and natural phenomena to create a new kind of architecture that acts as a poetic interpretation/representation of a celestial vista. At its top lies the anti-oculus: a traditional oculus eclipsed by a dark disk. As light shines onto the disc from above, it reflects back onto the interior of the dome, creating an experience that emulates the effect of a solar eclipse. In addition, myriad tiny holes are punctured through the dome, becoming points of light reminiscent of the night sky.