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.”
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 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.
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.
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).
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.”
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
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.
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.
"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!
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 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.
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.
"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.
Architects have never enjoyed a position of such supreme prominence as they did in the worldview of Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller. To him, architects alone were capable of understanding and navigating the complex interrelationships of society, technology, and environment as viewed through the comprehensive paradigm of systems theory. Architecture, in this model, was intended to exist in close contact with both mankind and nature, playing civilization’s most critical role in elevating the state of humanity and promoting its responsible stewardship of the environment. Emerging from the ethical positivity of postwar modernism, this melioristic perspective marks perhaps the zenith of optimism’s ascent in mid-twentieth century thought, and gave Fuller a uniquely moral blueprint for his revolutionary designs.
Although construction was never completed, "El Helicoide" ("The Helix") in Caracas is one of the most important relics of the Modern movement in Venezuela. The 73,000 square meter project - designed in 1955 by Jorge Romero Gutiérrez, Peter Neuberger and Dirk Bornhorst - takes the form of a double spiral topped by a large geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. It was characterized by a series of ascending and descending ramps meant to carry visitors to its variety of programmatic spaces - including 320 shops, a 5 star hotel, offices, a playground, a television studio and a space for events and conventions.
Today, Proyecto Helicoide (Project Helix) seeks to rescue the urban history and memory of the building through a series of exhibitions, publications and educational activities. More details on the initiative, after the break.
On April 19, Southern Illinois University will begin to restore the world’s first geodesic dome home, built by Buckminster Fuller. Originally assembled in just seven hours from 60 wooden triangle panels, the dome was occupied by Fuller and his wife, Lady Anne, in the 1960s during his residency at SIU. After Fuller’s death, the dome was used as student housing before falling into disrepair. In 2001, the home was donated to a non-profit that had it listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. It will now be restored and preserved as a museum in Carbondale.
Metropolis Magazine has unveiled its 4th annual Game Changers - including architects Eric Owen Moss and Alistair Parvin, the co-founder of WikiHouse, an open-sourced platform for architecture. In the following article, Jonathan Glancey profiles Parvin and asks: is WikiHouse a threat to architects? Or "a glimpse into our digital design future"?
I ﬁrst met WikiHouse cofounder Alastair Parvin—not in the ﬂesh, of course, much less in print—courtesy of YouTube. You can do the same by watching his lecture, “Architecture for the People by the People.” In the video, Parvin explains the WikiHouse concept to the 2013 annual TED conference in Long Beach, California. Looking young and trim in a white shirt and blue jeans, Parvin’s voice is chipper and conﬁdent as he delivers his provocative idea to the world.
Given that the 1,600 TED lectures that are currently available online have been viewed more than a billion times, you may have already heard a little about the WikiHouse by now. In case you haven’t, it’s “an open- source construction set,” according to the WikiHouse online collaborative. “The aim is to allow anyone to design, download, and ‘print’ CNC-milled houses and components, which can be assembled with minimal skill or training.”