Buckminister Fuller was an American engineer and architect. His ideas and designs were definitely ahead of his time that he was even considered a futurist back then. He developed the geodesic dome and other notable structures throughout his career. But have you heard about his moment of enlightenment?
At the age of 32, Buckminister Fuller experienced an epiphany. He was suspended several feet above ground in a white sphere of light with a voice telling him; “You think the truth. You do not have the right to eliminate yourself. You belong to the universe.”
Who is Buckminister Fuller?
Richard Buckminister Fuller was born in Milton, Massachusetts, on July 12, 1895. He is the son of Richard Buckminster Fuller and Caroline Wolcott Andrews, and the grandson of Margaret Fuller, an American journalist, critic, and women’s rights advocate affiliated with the American transcendentalism movement.
His uncommon middle name, Buckminster, was a surname passed down through the family. Fuller began his studies at Harvard College after attending Milton Academy in Massachusetts. He was expelled from Harvard twice: once for spending all of his money on a burlesque group and secondly for his irresponsibility and lack of interest after being readmitted.
Fuller also served in the US Navy as a shipboard radio operator, an editor of a publication, and the crash rescue boat USS Inca commander during World War I.
He was awarded 28 United States patents and many honorary doctorates. In 1960, he was awarded the Frank P. Brown Medal from The Franklin Institute.
Fuller also received numerous other awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom on February 23, 1983, by President Ronald Reagan.
On July 1, 1983, Fuller passed away, 11 days short of his 88th birthday. During the period leading up to his death, his wife had been lying comatose in a Los Angeles hospital, due to cancer.
It was while visiting her there that he exclaimed, that she was squeezing his hand. And in his excitement, he then stood up suddenly and had a heart attack. He died an hour later, at age 87. His wife of 66 years died 36 hours later. (Source: Britannica)
What are Some of Buckminister Fuller’s Major Projects?
Fuller entered Harvard University in 1913. He was expelled for excessively socializing and took some time off to work in a mill in Canada. His interest in machinery piqued and he decided to return to Harvard only to be expelled again in 1915. Despite this, he was known to be one of the greatest minds of our times.
Some of his inventions include:
The Geodesic Dome
One of the most popular inventions Fuller came up with is the Geodesic Dome. It is lightweight, cost-effective, and quite easy to put together. The dome encloses more space without supporting columns like commonly seen structures. The design efficiently distributes the stress throughout the structure that it can withstand harsh conditions. Fuller based the design on synergetic geometry.
The Dymaxion Car
Fuller also designed a vehicle he called the Dymaxion Car. It was featured at Chicago’s Century of Progress World Fair from 1933 to 1934. It was a ground-taxying mode kind of vehicle that was conceptualized to function on air, land, and water. Unfortunately, the prototype crashed after its initial take-off.
The Dymaxion Housing
Although there was a lot of interest in Fuller’s energy-efficient and affordable Dymaxion house, only two prototypes were built. The term Dymaxion is used to describe a radically strong and light tensegrity structure in this case. The house was built in Wichita, Kansas, to be lightweight, adaptable to windy areas, inexpensive to construct, and simple to assemble.
(Source: The Buckminister Fuller Institute)