Upon graduation in the late 50's from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, MM was employed by Kaiser Aluminum, Chicago, to work under Don Richter, (second from left) on the design team of the Kaiser Aluminum Geodesic Dome.        On the team  was Bill Tokeshi (4th from left) who programmed the structural and panel dimensions for a line of domes of varying diameters from 145 feet and up, calculating them on a room-sized Univac, (then advanced technology) eliminating the complex "hand"- dimensioning otherwise required.  MM was so taken with spherical geometry that it was almost all he thought about an entire year..

Erection of the first Kaiser Aluminum Dome, Honolulu, in 20 working hours

0:00   Work is started as the first aluminum panels are bolted together

5:00    After 5 working hours, the aluminum Dome begins to take shape.

15:00   After 15 working hours, about two-thirds of the Dome is completed.

The Kaiser Aluminum Geodesic Dome

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20:00   After 20 working hours, all panels in place and the Dome is up!

The Kaiser Aluminum Geodesic Dome line of products was inspired in its geometry by R. Buckminster Fuller, and developed by designer/engineer Don Richter.  It premiered as a 15,000 square foot auditorium in Hawaii seating 2,000 people.  Erected in 20 hours using aircraft structural and construction techniques, it was designed to withstand winds of twice hurricane force.  Its geodesic geometry provided for the maximum repeated use of similar panels resulting in a minimum variety of differently-sized units, keeping each of the units as close to the same dimensions as possible, allowing for maximization of fabrication and structural efficiencies.  Don’s next step was to assemble a team to develop the dome further  as a mass-produced product in several sizes, improve it and adapt it to broad architectural use.

Kaiser Dome: brainchild of Bucky and Don Richter

MM’s work related mainly to improvements to the existing design: the testing of the panels, developing and testing for enhanced structural strength in new panel surface configurations.  Also development of interface geometry between the edges of the Dome and architectural elements.


Working within Henry J. Kaiser’s far-flung industrial empire as well as with Don Richter and his design team was inspiring and enlightening.   Don was a fine inventor and leader.  Kaiser was a huge aluminum producer.  MM was able to became familiar with their production facilities and processes in the U.S.  Kaiser had manufactured fine automobiles. (Kaiser-Fraser).  His Liberty Ships, welded quickly together, supplied American Allies in WW 2.  His shipyards once famously turned out a vessel in 71.66 hours.

Henry J.'s “Henry J,” (right) was one of the first American compact cars. It was even sold mail order thru Sears Catalog as the Allstate.  H.J. Kaiser instituted hospitals and health care systems.  Always forward-thinking, with these, he left an enduring legacy.