Fifty years ago, architect Buckminster Fuller debuted his symbol of innovation at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal. Standing at 206 by 250 feet, the geodesic dome served as the U.S. pavilion for the World's Fair on Saint Helen’s Island. The Biosphere, as it's now culturally referred to, was originally made entirely of steel tubes and acrylic cells welded together to make hundreds of tetrahedrons. During structural renovations in 1976, a fire broke out and burned through the acrylic cells, leaving only the steel components. During the Expo, the Montreal Minirail, an automated rail system designed specifically for the World's Fair, ran through the middle of the dome, allowing attendees a different perspective of the structure.
After Environment Canada, a research organization dedicated to preserving Canada's natural environment, bought the site in 1990, it was renamed as the Biosphere Environment Museum, to be used as an exhibition space to showcase environmental education. In 1992, Canadian architect Eric Gauthier of Montreal–based firm FABG was commissioned to redesign the interior shell of the Biosphere in order transform the space into a museum. The exhibition space inside the dome, designed by Cambridge Seven Associates, is Canada's first museum to focus on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence ecosystem.
Remembered and admired by many, the Centre d’histoire de Montreal will feature the Biosphere in Explosion 67: Youth and Their World, a collection of memories recounted by 46 attendees of Expo 67 in the form of multimedia presentations, photographs, and recorded interviews. The exhibition will be showcased starting June 16.