Native name: Biosphère

Where Montreal, Canada

An important con­temporary ar­chi­tectural landmark, Montreal’s “Biosphere” is currently the largest spherical building in the world.

Built by Buckminster Fuller for the 1967 World Expo, this building actually consist of two spheres, one inside the other, with about one meter between them. Many a strange thing was built for the event and most were promptly demolished afterwards. The Biosphere, however, is still around. Far from being just another quirky architectural experiment, it became one of the symbols of the heady (architecturally speaking) epoch and, for some, even a symbol of the innovative spirit of the city.

In this particular case, the innovation didn't stop with the building's completion. A 1976 fire tore through the structure and, in mere 20 minutes, got itself elected as a force majeure co-creator of sorts. It certainly helped give the building its now-trademark "skeletal" look – that is, once architect Eric Gauthier polished it into a presentable form… almost two decades later. Things take time in Montreal and symbolic things are no exception. -VB

Biosphere: Map