Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Buckminster Fuller: the man, the myth the legend.

I first heard about this cool cat in an architecture history course my sophomore year of college.  I love it when you hear about this super smart environmentally innovative people and then read that they got kicked out of Harvard twice; it helped me put college into perspective. Buckminster Fuller is a crazy architect/environmentalist/scientist/mathematician/crazy person. He was way before the times on this whole sustainability thing and was coming up with ideas that the present society just couldn't handle. He was also quirky which I think is why I was so interested in him. For example...since he travels so much he often could be seen wearing three different watches with different time zones. He also experimented with his sleeping habits and for two years would only sleep 2 hours a day, he stopped because it conflicted with his associates sleeping schedule (what? not everyone only sleeps 2 hours each night?!) He once said this sleeping habit would help the U.S win WW2....

After a stint with alcoholism and subsequently suicidal attempts, he got his act together and found a home in the Greenwich Village. He got a job at a cafe renovating the interior in exchange for meals and later held night lectures where he displayed models of his Geodesic Dome.
http://www.miqel.com/fuller_design_science/buckminster-fuller-dome-bio.html
Now, lets keep in mind this is around the 1930's and this guy is experimenting and building inexpensive housing and transportation- he was probably the only person on the planet who cared about our depleting resources at this time. Trust me, I took a poll and he really was the only one. He was an environmental activist and knew that societies would soon have to rely on renewable resources, coining the phrase "Do more with less."

"I live on Earth at present, and I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe" - Fuller

Fuller is mostly remembered for his geodesic domes, which can also be seen at military radar stations and civic buildings. He found that the use of tetrahedrons and octahedron's make structures lighter and stronger.

http://www.orbit.zkm.de/?q=node/389
The Montreal Biosphère by Buckminster Fuller, 1967

3 wheeled Dymaxion Care

http://heysaturdaysun.com/dymaxion-house/
Above is his Dymaxion house. This house would arrive on-site as a kit and was suitable for any site and environment (or so he thought...). Fullers houses were never built and lived in, only prototypes exist of his actual intentions.

Fast forward to my last birthday (I'm pretty sure that was intentional) Treehugger.com posted an article about the firm Foster + Partners, who loved Fuller just as much and went on to rebuild his Dymaxion Car.
http://technoccult.net/archives/2010/10/11/dymaxion-car/
TreeHugger just released the Best of Green 2011, which can be viewed here,...Shout out to UnHappy Hipsters for being so awesomely sarcastic.

Before I leave you, if you are free Tomorrow night (Wednesday, April 20th) and in the Minneapolis area, GreenPrint is hosting an event from Noon-5 at the Como Conservatory; admission is $20-$25.

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