Buckminster Fuller

"We are all astronauts"

At the age of 32, after the failure of the company Stockade Building Co., established with his father-in-law in 1927, Richard Buckminster Fuller made an important decision. To come out of his personal crisis he set an ambitious goal for himself, namely the housing on-flowing world population. With his project, called Lightful houses, he wants to find a solution for what was, also back then, seen as one of the most important social problems, namely the explosive growth of the world population and the effects of it on planet earth. The project Lightful houses starts with the 4D house to lead via the Dymaxion house eventually into a series of geodetic dome constructions. In the mean time he designed the Dymaxion Car, the Dymaxion Bathroom, the Dymaxion Worldmap and a theory about the stacking of balls in the most compact possible way. But the most famous is Buckmister Fuller for his geodetic- and tensegrity constructions. Constructions in which large spans can be made with minimal amounts of material. Only in the 1970's some of his designs were built. In the same years other designers have further developed his ideas about spatial constructions. This had a large influence on the work of High-tech architects and Metabolists.

Buckminster Fuller was a sailor, construction entrepreneur and inventor but above all a source of inspiration. Not only for the work of architects and engineers, but he also knew how to stimulate hippies, politicians and musicians into renewal. He kept inspiring even after his death in 1983. The chemists Kroto, Smaley and Cure discovered a molecular structure that they called the Buckmisterfullerene (also called the Bucky Balls). This discovery eventually won them the Nobel Prize.

For RBF designing wasn't a skill but a science, and he therefor would have found those interdisciplinary interactions very normal.

RBF testing the prototype of the Dymaxion car.

JV

Sources:   

Lars Muller Publishers: Your Private Sky R. Buckminster Fuller 'The art of design science', Joachim Krausse and Claude Lichtenstein, Zürich, 1999.

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