Richard Buckminster Fuller was an architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist from the United States. If you’ve read anything about Fuller, you’re probably aware that he was also expelled from Harvard University. But did you know the reason behind the expulsion?
Buckminster Fuller, an inventor, and theorist were expelled from Harvard twice. The first time was blowing all of his money on a vaudeville troupe, and the second was for irresponsibility and lack of interest.
What was Buckminister Fuller’s Inspiration for His Nautical References?
Fuller, an avid sailor, frequently mentioned the trim-tab principle. The trim tab is a tiny rudder attached to the trailing edge of a larger control surface on a ship that can steer and turn the entire boat when a small force is applied to it. Buckminster Fuller wished to live his life as a human trim tab, implying that by strategically using his energy, he could steer the course of humanity in a better direction despite being only one person.
Fuller frequently wondered why building on the land was different from building on the sea and sky. Just as a man used to build fortresses, believing that the heavier, thicker, and taller the walls, the greater the sense of security, he thought today’s buildings were designed as fortresses rather than places to live. He was constantly looking to the sea and sky, attempting to apply similar principles to build on the land more responsibly. (Source: Stir World)
Buckminister Fuller’s Spaceship Earth?
Fuller compares planet Earth to an orbiting spaceship in his operating manual for his creation Spaceship Earth. The metaphor of the earth as a spaceship with a finite number of resources is essential in modern discourse, owing to the double implication: limited provisions and a crew to whom these provisions were meant to sustain. Fuller explicitly connects distribution and scarcity, viewing them as inseparable.
Fuller believed that a reconciliation of natural and technological forces was possible if one was willing to think and act big. With the increasing urgency of climate change action, Fuller’s Spaceship Earth is more relevant than ever, urging us to limit our collective resource use. Joint declarations, such as the Architecture Declares petition, have already addressed Fuller’s call for collective action. (Source: Stir World)
What Influenced Buckminister Fuller’s Designing of His Inventions?
The Geodesic dome is a lightweight, easy-to-assemble dome that encloses more space without the intrusive supportive columns used by other structures, and is one of Fuller’s most significant constructions. What is little known about Fuller’s dome is what inspired this one-of-a-kind method of stress distribution within a structure.
Even more intriguing was how biomimicry influenced Fuller’s perspective on systems. The flying cars were intended to be part of a self-organizing society with temporary mobile housing inspired by the natural environment. (Source: Stir World)
What is The Ultimate Expression of Fuller’s Designs?
Fuller built the Dymaxion house using a comprehensive problem-solving approach. The Dymaxion house was the ultimate expression of Fuller’s ideas: a modular home that was relatively inexpensive and easy to mass-produce, as well as environmentally efficient and transportable.
Dymaxion, a portmanteau of the words dynamic, maximum, and tension, is a term used by Fuller to describe a wide range of inventions, from houses to automobiles and even maps. The house was made up of single support connected to a foundation from which ancillary supports radiated, forming a circular structure.
Richard Buckminster Fuller unquestionably stirred the future of design and continues to inspire mankind today, with over 300,000 geodesic dome replications, more than 30 published books, and 28 patents. (Source: Stir World)