Skip to topic | Skip to bottom
Hiaz.BuckminsterFullerr1.1 - 24 Oct 2006 - 17:09 - TWikiGuesttopic end

Start of topic | Skip to actions

Buckminster Fuller

Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller (Wikipedia)

Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller (July 12, 1895 - July 1, 1983) was an American visionary, designer, architect, inventor, and writer.

Fuller became famous for his huge geodesic domes, which can be seen as part of military radar stations, city halls, and exhibition attractions. Their construction is based on extending basic principles to build simple tensegrity structures (tetrahedron, octahedron, and the closest packing of spheres). Built in this way they are extremely lightweight and stable. After getting a first patent for his domes in 1954, Fuller went on to explore nature's constructing principles to find solutions for designs in many areas of human life. He designed and built a safer, aerodynamic Dymaxion car, a more accurate Dymaxion Map, energy-efficient and low-cost Dymaxion houses (the term "Dymaxion" is contracted from DYnamic MAXimum tensION), radically strong and light tensegrity structures and much more.

Deploring waste, Fuller explored and advocated a principle that he termed "ephemeralization" - which (according to Stewart Brand) Fuller defined as "doing more with less." He also introduced synergetics, which explores holistic engineering structures in nature (long before the term synergy became popular).

One of Fuller's Dymaxion Houses is on display as a permanent exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It has several innovative features, including revolving dresser drawers, a fine-mist shower that reduces water consumption and variable siting for enhanced atmospheric circulation. According to Fuller biographer Steve Crooks, the house was designed to be delivered in two cylindrical packages, with interior color panels available at local dealers' stores. The house was designed to rotate around a central mast to take advantage of natural winds for cooling and circulation.

The American Pavilion of Expo '67, by R. Buckminster Fuller, now the Biosphère, on Île Sainte-Hélène, Montreal. A geodesic dome is a structure developed by Buckminster Fuller in the 1940s in line with his "synergetic" thinking.

His most lasting insights may be geometric. He claimed that the natural analytic geometry of the universe was based on arrays of tetrahedra. He developed this in several ways, from the close-packing of spheres and the number of compressive or tensile members required to stabilize an object in space. Some deep confirming results were that the strongest possible homogenous truss is cyclically tetrahedral, and all solids constructed of regular polygons, except the icosahedron, have a volume that is an integral number of unit-tetrahedrons.

Buckminster Fuller was one of the first to propagate a systemic worldview (see 'Operating manual for Spaceship Earth', 'Synergetics') and explored principles of energy and material efficiency in the fields of architecture, engineering and design.

A new allotrope of carbon (fullerene) and a particular molecule of that allotrope (buckminsterfullerene or buckyballs) have been named after him.

Fuller coined the term (but did not invent) tensegrity. He also coined the phrases world around and Spaceship Earth.


Online resources


Dymaxion = Dynamic + Maximum + Tension = 'Doing More With Less'

"The Dymaxion Map is the only flat map of the entire surface of the earth that reveals our planet as it really is an island in one ocean without any visible distortion of the relative shapes and sizes of the land areas, and without splitting any continents."


for reading notes -> ReadingSynergetics?


'tensional integrity.' Tensegrity structures rely on on tension and compresssion for structual integrity. All natural forms, from atoms to galaxies and human bodies contain tensional (pulling) and compressional (pushing) components.

from Synergetics ->

jitterbug models

on a cellular level -> (see also notes in SecondSkin?)

a breif paper on building models of artificial ocean protzoa


...add text

The World Game

to top

You are here: Hiaz > CategoryGeometry > BuckminsterFuller

to top

Copyright © 1996 - 2006 by hiaz. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback.