Resembling the top of a parasol, the Campbell Dome House is a true mid-century gem in the heart of a traditional Overland Park neighborhood.
Built in 1968, toward the end of the mid-century modern design movement, it was recently designated as a historic site by the Kansas Historical Society. Considered a Schwedler dome—meridional ribs connected together to a number of horizontal polygonal rings—the house was built by Bob D. Campbell, a structural engineer who was enthralled with domes and all the ways the structures could be used.
Campbell, who worked on the design of the Kemper Arena, Truman Sports Complex and Arrowhead Stadium, decided to build a home under a dome for his family, who were originally from South Texas, so they could enjoy the “outdoors” year-round.
“My grandparents were not planning on moving back to Texas, but they missed the weather,” says Keli Campbell, who is the third generation to live in the house. She grew up next door to her grandparents’ dome home in a traditional house, where her father, the son of Bob Campbell, lives.
Keli’s grandparents lived in their sci-fi house until they passed. It then sat empty for years and was falling into disrepair. Hoping to find a way to restore the structure and keep it in the family, Keli and her husband Jeff Rhodes decided to move in and find ways to make it viable—they document those adventures at @campbelldomehouse.
“Structurally it’s in good shape,” says Rhodes, who, along with Keli, has been working on the home to bring it back to its mid-century glamor days. “But there are a lot of projects. It’s definitely a work in progress.”
The dome hovers over a U-shaped, three-bedroom home creating a covered south-facing tropical courtyard with an in-ground pool, twenty-five-foot rubber tree, and banana and avocado tree. It has the feel of a greenhouse. A wall of windows in the living room of the home under the dome can disappear below ground, creating a large space perfect for entertaining.
Rhodes and Keli have started renting the space out for events, photoshoots and other artistic ventures as a way to create revenue for their renovation efforts and repairs.
“We could rent the space out much more than we do, but we live here,” Rhodes says.