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Buckminster Fuller

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Spotlight: Buckminster Fuller

08:00 - 12 July, 2018
Spotlight: Buckminster Fuller, Montreal 1967 World's Fair, "Man and His World," Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic Dome With Solar Experimental House, 2012. Image © Jade Doskow
Montreal 1967 World's Fair, "Man and His World," Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic Dome With Solar Experimental House, 2012. Image © Jade Doskow

Pioneering radical Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983), an inventor, architect and the second president of Mensa, had a massive impact on the architecture and popular culture of the latter 20th century. Most famous for popularizing the geodesic dome, Fuller is also known as the father of sustainability, and was driven by his intention “to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or disadvantage of anyone.”

Tensegrity Structures: What They Are and What They Can Be

08:00 - 3 June, 2018
Tensegrity Structures: What They Are and What They Can Be , Buckminster Fuller <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/poetarchitecture/26806590126/in/photolist-GQNMjo-hESW2z-GMT4BP-ejcfv3-criycW-r4RXrm-qixJV2-3ZnJR-3ZnKg-5mMEfE-5mHpSD-5mMEDd-VR9y-VR7Y-VR9e-VR7D-VR8M-8y9tDo-8y6sNX-qnhPRv-sSPR3B-ta1L5A-sSFpTo-t7XFvh-t7Xf6u-t7WDZd-t7W8aY-sSFCyf-t7WNX3-sdgce7-sSGbAS-sSEAJd-sSH5eG-t7WeNY-sdsw7p-sdrtJa-t7WvQs-ta2Hj3-taiBsF-tagNuP-sSPTcM-t7WCsq-ta1wys-sSNNhP-ta2Tpo-sSFMmJ-sSPk8M-sdrEH4-ta2Jc5-sSHcrN'>©POET ARCHITECTURE via Flickr </a> Licence Public Domain Mark 1.0
Buckminster Fuller ©POET ARCHITECTURE via Flickr Licence Public Domain Mark 1.0

Through his extensive research, inventions and structural experiments, Buckminster Fuller created the term tensegrity to describe "self-tensioning structures composed of rigid structures and cables, with forces of traction and compression, which form an integrated whole" [1]. In other words, tensegrity is the property demonstrated by a system that employs cables (traction) and rigidity of other elements (usually steel, wood or bamboo) capable of acting under the intrinsic stresses (traction and compression) together and simultaneously, giving greater resistance and formal stability. It creates an interconnected structure that works biologically like muscles and bones, where one element strengthens the other. 

5 Lessons From Norman Foster’s Lecture at the Barbican

09:30 - 15 May, 2018
5 Lessons From Norman Foster’s Lecture at the Barbican, Left: <a href='https://www.instagram.com/p/BSTX9-oA25D/'>via Norman Foster on Instagram</a>; right: Courtesy of Foster + Partners
Left: via Norman Foster on Instagram; right: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

After being knighted in 1990 for services to architecture, winning the 1999 Pritzker Prize and then gaining peerage in the same year, it could be argued that there is no living architect that has had a larger impact on urban life than Norman Foster. In a recent talk, Foster addressed a sold-out Barbican Hall on the future of our growing urban landscape, in the seventh installment of the Architecture On Stage series organized by The Architecture Foundation with the Barbican. While the content was full of grandiose statements and predictions, of a scale similar to the projects Foster's practice undertakes, it was the problem-solving approach he showed that gave more of an insight into the man himself. The following 5 lessons gleaned from the presentation won't guarantee Foster-like levels of success, but they may be able to help you navigate the challenges that architecture can present, both personally and professionally.

The Best Architecture Reads this Spring: 19 New Books Selected by Metropolis Magazine

09:30 - 12 May, 2018
The Best Architecture Reads this Spring: 19 New Books Selected by Metropolis Magazine, Courtesy of Metropolis Magazine
Courtesy of Metropolis Magazine

Metropolis Magazine has released a curated list of 19 new books to read this spring, with topics ranging from the evolution of social housing to Stanley Kubrick's unfilmed masterpiece to a fascinating tome on the architecture of Zionism. Not simply volumes detailing well-tread histories, these chosen titles explore every niche category through the lens of architecture. Ever wondered how Buckminster Fuller inspired six former gang members to construct his geodesic dome? Or what metro stations in North Korea look like?

North Face Releases a Geodesic Dome Tent Capable of Withstanding the Toughest Weather

14:00 - 11 March, 2018
North Face Releases a Geodesic Dome Tent Capable of Withstanding the Toughest Weather, via North Face
via North Face

Reinterpreting the teachings of Buckminster Fuller, North Face have announced the latest tent in their collection; a geodesic dome tent. Thanks to the most spatially efficient shape in architecture, it can withstand winds of up to 60 mph as the force is spread evenly across the structure whilst even providing enough height for a six-foot person to stand comfortably inside.

The extremely efficient design has allowed the tent to weigh not much more than 11kg and comprise of 5 main poles and the equator for fast and easy assembly and storage. The outdoor gear company has also considered a water-resistant dual-layered exterior skin for their incredibly strong and sturdy tent to endure whatever mother nature has to throw at it.

9 Incredibly Famous Architects Who Didn't Possess an Architecture Degree

09:30 - 19 June, 2017

Had the worst jury ever? Failed your exams? Worry not! Before you fall on your bed and cry yourself to sleep—after posting a cute, frantic-looking selfie on Instagram, of course (hashtag so dead)—take a look at this list of nine celebrated architects, all of whom share a common trait. You might think that a shiny architecture degree is a requirement to be a successful architect; why else would you put yourself through so many years of architecture school? Well, while the title of "architect" may be protected in many countries, that doesn't mean you can't design amazing architecture—as demonstrated by these nine architects, who threw convention to the wind and took the road less traveled to architectural fame.

The Architectural Stories Behind 7 Famous Album Covers

09:30 - 30 January, 2017
Image <a href='https://www.amazon.com/Physical-Graffiti-Led-Zeppelin/dp/B000002JSN/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=8831718525&linkCode=as2&tag=arch05-20&linkId=QFBKEXFXIXX7CVQT'>via amazon.com</a>
Image via amazon.com

The production of creative work often requires a very particular type of space—a temple, if you will, to the work being done. Architects and artists are open about how their living and working areas affect their practice, and musicians, of course, are no different. Perhaps this is why places and spaces are often featured on album covers. The art on an album cover is partially advertising, but it is also often a visual symbol of an entire period in the life of a musician. An album's cover artwork may depict the view a band saw coming into the studio every day, the building the album was recorded in, the city the musician grew up in, or myriad other more abstract connections. We will leave it to you to make sense of the connection between the 7 architectural landmarks featured on the following albums and the music their images envelop, but the stories behind the constructions themselves may help you make a more educated guess.

50-Foot-Tall Buckminster Fuller “Fly’s Eye” Dome to Be Erected in Arkansas

16:10 - 26 January, 2017
50-Foot-Tall Buckminster Fuller “Fly’s Eye” Dome to Be Erected in Arkansas, 3D computer rendering of Buckminster’s Fly’s Eye Dome as it will appear on the North Lawn at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. (View from Early 20th Century Gallery Bridge.). Image Courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
3D computer rendering of Buckminster’s Fly’s Eye Dome as it will appear on the North Lawn at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. (View from Early 20th Century Gallery Bridge.). Image Courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

One of Buckminster Fuller’s visionary housing structures is set to be erected at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The 50-foot structure, known as the “Fly’s Eye Dome” is the largest of only three original prototypes hand-fabricated by Fuller during his lifetime.

The Strange Habits of Top Architects

07:00 - 10 October, 2016

Well-known architects are easy to admire or dismiss from afar, but up close, oddly humanizing habits often come to light. However, while we all have our quirks, most people's humanizing habits don't give an insight into how they became one of the most notable figures in their field of work. The following habits of several top architects reveal parts of their creative process, how they relax, or simply parts of their identity. Some are inspiring and some are surprising, but all give a small insight into the mental qualities that are required to be reach the peak of the architectural profession—from an exceptional work drive to an embrace of eccentricity (and a few more interesting qualities besides).

Buckminster Fuller’s Daughter Shares Her Father’s Best Lessons

12:00 - 6 August, 2016
Buckminster Fuller’s Daughter Shares Her Father’s Best Lessons , Montreal 1967 World's Fair, "Man and His World," Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic Dome With Solar Experimental House, 2012. Image © Jade Doskow
Montreal 1967 World's Fair, "Man and His World," Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic Dome With Solar Experimental House, 2012. Image © Jade Doskow

It is the relation between the mind, which Bucky so often talked about, and experience or experiencing that I found to be the key that unlocks his work and inspired my own.

As Buckminster Fuller explained in an 1965 interview with Studs Terkel, his relationship with his daughter was very close. Now, in a previously-unpublished essay written in 1995, the daughter of "Bucky" Allegra Fuller Snyder has shared her father’s best lessons with Metropolis Magazine - explaining how she has adopted her father's approach to learning and understanding the world. Both of them engaged in “experiencing” the living environment, “involving one’s whole self, not being present at, or observing, something, but “doing” that thing.”

Dror Proposes New Vegetated Biosphere for Montreal

08:00 - 3 May, 2016
Dror Proposes New Vegetated Biosphere for Montreal, Courtesy of Dror
Courtesy of Dror

In anticipation of the upcoming 50th anniversary of Expo 67, Studio Dror has proposed a 150-meter-wide vegetated dome for Park Jean Drapeau, the original site of the World Fair. The new dome would complement Buckminster Fuller’s Biosphere, which was built as the US pavilion for Expo 67. 

Watch Bucky Fuller Debate Hans Hollein at Storefront For Art and Architecture's "Closed Worlds" Conference

18:00 - 22 February, 2016
Watch Bucky Fuller Debate Hans Hollein at Storefront For Art and Architecture's "Closed Worlds" Conference

On Saturday, February 27th, Storefront for Art and Architecture and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union will jointly present a public conference, Closed World: Encounters That Never Happened. Presenters and discussants will engage in debate and discussion and the history and future of closed systems in architecture and design. 
The format of this conference invites participants to impersonate a historical figures who have been major contributors to the discourse of closed systems. Figures include Reyner Banham, Buckminster Fuller, Hans Hollein, Neil Armstrong, Jacques Cousteau, and Walt Disney, among others.

Call for Proposals: The 2016 Fuller Challenge

07:00 - 25 January, 2016
Call for Proposals: The 2016 Fuller Challenge

The Buckminster Fuller Institue (BFI) has issued the Call for Proposals for the 2016 Fuller Challenge. Known as “socially-responsible design’s highest award,” the Fuller Challenge invites designers, architects, planners, entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, activists, and students worldwide to submit original solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing problems.

A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of the winning project. In addition to the grand prize, BFI will provide further resources for finalists, semi-finalists and select entrants through its Catalyst Program.

GIVEAWAY: The Architect Says Notebooks

09:15 - 7 July, 2015
GIVEAWAY: The Architect Says Notebooks, Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press
Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

"Form ever follows function." "Less is more." Architects have long been providing us with inspirational quips and reflections on our profession. And now, thanks to our friends at Princeton Architectural Press, you can win a set a notebooks that feature the compelling words of Le Corbusier, R. Buckminster Fuller, and Cesar Pelli. The gold-stamped, gridded notebooks are a companion to  Laura Dushkes' best-selling book The Architect Says

Read on to find out how you can win a set of The Architect Says Notebooks!

Read Through Buckminster Fuller's FBI File

12:15 - 26 May, 2015
Read Through Buckminster Fuller's FBI File, via ArchDaily
via ArchDaily

An unconventional man with radical ideas, Buckminster Fuller was an "affable weirdo" and "counterculture icon" who, as Gizmodo reports, often caught the attention of the FBI. For the first time ever, his (heavily redacted) FBI files have been released, revealing some of the reasons why the FBI felt the need to keep tabs on the world famous architect and designer, including speculations regarding Fuller and the Soviet Union. Though it seems nothing ever went beyond speculation, the files are fascinating. You can read them in full, here

Car Talk Deems Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Car a Complete Failure

17:00 - 4 May, 2015
Car Talk Deems Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Car a Complete Failure , via ArchDaily
via ArchDaily

Car Talk has written a scathing review on Buckminster Fuller's three-wheeled Dymaxion Car, 81 years after its unveiling. The famed architect and inventor, known best for his geodesic dome, hoped to revolutionize the car industry with a three-wheeled, 20 foot-long, "highly aerodynamic" reinvention of the car. 

The Architectural Lab: A History Of World Expos

10:30 - 30 April, 2015
The Universal Exposition of 1889. Image © Wikimedia Commons
The Universal Exposition of 1889. Image © Wikimedia Commons

World Expos have long been important in advancing architectural innovation and discourse. Many of our most beloved monuments were designed and constructed specifically for world’s fairs, only to remain as iconic fixtures in the cities that host them. But what is it about Expos that seem to create such lasting architectural landmarks, and is this still the case today? Throughout history, each new Expo offered architects an opportunity to present radical ideas and use these events as a creative laboratory for testing bold innovations in design and building technology. World’s fairs inevitably encourage competition, with every country striving to put their best foot forward at almost any cost. This carte blanche of sorts allows architects to eschew many of the programmatic constraints of everyday commissions and concentrate on expressing ideas in their purest form. Many masterworks such as Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion (better known as the Barcelona Pavilion) for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition are so wholeheartedly devoted to their conceptual approach that they could only be possible in the context of an Exposition pavilion.

To celebrate the opening of Expo Milano 2015 tomorrow, we’ve rounded up a few of history’s most noteworthy World Expositions to take a closer look at their impact on architectural development.

1964 New York World’s Fair . Image via People for the Pavillion website Buckminster Fuller's Dome. Image © Flickr user abdallahh Barcelona Pavilion. Image © Gili Merin Kiyonari Kikutake's Landmark Tower + 19

Rare Interview with Buckminster Fuller on the Geodesic Life

12:10 - 17 March, 2015

"I must reorganize the environment of man by which then greater numbers of men can prosper,” says Buckminster Fuller in this rare interview on the Geodesic Life with Studs Terkel (recorded in 1965 and 1970). Animated by Jennifer Yoo and produced by Blank and Blank, this interview has been brought to life as the first of “The Experimenters” mini-series that features rare interviews with Bucky, Jane Goodall, and Richard Feynman focusing on science, technology and innovation.