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Steve and Holly Baer Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-2023-06-21

Scope and Contents

The collection includes Steve Baer’s personal journals; diverse materials related to Zomeworks and Zometool; personal and professional correspondence (including with scholars, artists, and prominent individuals such as Marlon Brando and Ken Kesey); publications and promotional materials by Zomeworks and Lama Foundation; photographs and slides (of projects, equipment and technologies, buildings, etc.); technical sketches and product documentation; a brief unreleased documentary film about Zomeworks produced by Francis Ford Coppola and more.

The collection is currently unprocessed; an initial inventory of the collection is available in Box 1. Please consult with CSWR reference staff with questions or for access.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 2023

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Engineer, architect, inventor, designer, essayist, author and educator, Steve Baer was born 1938 in Los Angeles, California. He attended Amherst College and UCLA and served in the United States Army, stationed in Germany. After his military service, Baer moved with wife Holly to Zurich, where he attended Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, studying mathematics. During this time Baer developed an interest in the possibilities of building innovative structures using the polyhedral geometry popularized by architect R. Buckminster Fuller. The Baer family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1965. Here Baer began experimenting with the construction of unusual geometries called “zomes”—three-dimensional, dome-like structures based on a convex polyhedron called the zonohedron. Early expressions of zomes were built in the late 1960s with salvaged automobile parts at the counterculture artists’ community of Drop City near Trinidad, Colorado. In 1969, Steve Baer founded the solar energy company Zomeworks (with partners Barry Hickman and Ed Heinz) in Martineztown, Albuquerque, and served as director of research. A passive solar pioneer, Baer patented a number of solar power technologies. Zomeworks also produced zome playground climbers and a modeling kit called the Zometoy, which was later developed into the Zometool. Holly Baer was particularly involved with photographic documentation and publishing related to Steve’s endeavors with zomes and Zomeworks. The Baers’ work with zomes and solar technology coalesced in the construction of the family home in Corrales, New Mexico in 1971-1972. The house comprises eleven zomes and employs a number of innovative passive-solar technologies. Steve Baer (along with Barry Hickman) was also a key organizer of Alloy, a grassroots Western-American conference on energy, structure, materials and alternative building systems held in New Mexico in 1969. Throughout this period, the Baers were closely associated with Lama Foundation of New Mexico. Steve Baer taught classes at the University of New Mexico and is author of a number of books, including the Dome Cookbook, the Zome Primer and Sunspots: Collected Facts and Solar Fiction.

Extent

19 boxes

Language of Materials

English

Physical Location

Shelved on B3-2B.

Related Materials

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Title
Finding Aid of the
Status
In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131
505-277-6451