Old Man River's City project

Old Man River's City project

The Old Man River's City project was an architectural design created by Buckminster Fuller in 1971[1]. Fuller was asked to design the structure from the city of East St. Louis. Old Man's River City would have been a truly massive housing project for the city's 70,000 residents. The total capacity of the building, a circular multi-terraced dome, would be 125,000 occupants. Each family would have approximately 2,500 square feet (230 m2) of living space.

Total Undercover area 1,767,146 meters



Outer Perimeter: 4750 meters

1,130,974 meters


Esplanade Perimeter: 2800 meters

565,486 meters


70,686 meters total area

Critical Path

I originally came to East St. Louis to discuss the design and possible realization of the Old Man River's City, having been asked to do so by East St. Louis community leaders themselves... It is moon-crater-shaped: the crater's truncated cone top opening is a half-mile in diameter, rim-to-rim, while the truncated mountain itself is a mile in diameter at its base ring. The city has a one-mile (1.6 km)-diameter geodesic, quarter-sphere transparent umbrella mounted high above it to permit full, all-around viewing below the umbrella's bottom perimeter. The top of the dome roof is 1,000 feet (300 m) high. The bottom rim of the umbrella dome is 500 feet (150 m) above the surrounding terrain, while the crater-top esplanade, looks 250 feet (76 m) radially inward from the umbrella's bottom, is at the same 500-foot (150 m) height. From the esplanade the truncated mountain cone slopes downwardly, inward and outward, to ground level 500 feet (150 m) below.

The moon crater's inward and outward, exterior-surface slopes each consist of fifty terraces - the terrace floors are tiered vertically ten feet above or below one another. All the inwardly, downwardly sloping sides of the moon crater's terraced cone are used for communal life; its outward-sloping, tree-planted terraces are entirely for private life dwelling.

Buckminster Fuller, "Critical Path"

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