Prefab Icon: Dome of Discovery by Ralph Tubbs

Prefab Icon: Dome of Discovery by Ralph Tubbs

By Dominic Bradbury
With a life span of just 11 months, the prefabricated 1951 Dome of Discovery, designed by architect Ralph Tubbs for the Festival of Britain, lives on as a lost cultural icon.

There are certain lost buildings that still resound through the decades. One of Britain’s most famous lost glories is Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace, built to house the Great Exhibition of 1851 and destroyed decades later by fire in 1936. Another, the Dome of Discovery—built for the Festival of Britain, a postwar celebration of design and culture—was created on London’s South Bank exactly 100 years after the birth of the Crystal Palace.

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