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 Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller  (1895 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: New York/California/Massachusetts      Known for: geodome and other invention drawings, writing

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R. (Richard) Buckminster Fuller is primarily known as Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

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Ad Code: 3
Richard Buckminster Fuller
from Auction House Records.
Unique ‘Dymaxion Airocean World Map’, for the Third National Bank, Dayton, 1979
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Living a 20th-century life "dedicated to shaking up the planet", Buckminster Fuller had a creative mind, with many ideas so far-reaching that they are "only now hitting the mainstream, some 25 years after his death." Included among those credits is his anticipation of the Internet, environmental problems and cyber culture.  And his concepts, expressed through his writings, lectures and drawingts, had an influence on modernist, abstract art. 

Fuller's name is especially associated with the geodome as he was the first person to design a domed shaped structures. In fact, the dome, Spaceship Earth, at Epcot Center at Disney World, is based on Fuller's design.  He was also hired to design the dome-shaped U.S. pavilion for the 1967 Montreal Expo, which remains a museum. It has a diameter of 228 feet, a height of 183 feet, and a double layer of skin.  It also had a computerized system to control an array of moveable sunshades to adjust the interior environment.  "The Expo '67 dome is a glorious building, profoundly ahead of its time, the harbinger of a future that didn't exactly arrive. . .at least not in Fuller's lifetime."

He was also skillful at marketing his ideas, another aspect of this man who is increasingly appreciated, especially by engineers and architects.  Although few of the structures he conceived survive, his drawings tell the story of a man of great visionary talents.

In the fall of 2008, an exhibition in New York at the Whitney Museum of American Art dedicated to Fuller's career covers many aspects of his career.  Included are drawings from the 1920s that shows humanity housed in giant towers with the words 'If Materialism wins, Humanity is Licked'; a futuristic 4-D tower, named for the 4th dimension of time; or a Dymaxion House, "a hexagonal module that's suspended from a mast---and makes them more accessible."  Fuller created the word 'Dymaxion' as a contractive combination of the words dynamic, maximum and tension.

Buckminster Fuller lived in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, and associated with "fellow dreamers" such as Isamu Noguchi.  During the time in an auto plant in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he built his first Dymaxion Car, "a teardrop-shaped, three-wheeled vehicle of the sort that Flash Gordon might have driven." The vehicle was exhibited at the 1933 Century of Progress Chicago Exposition.  In collaboration with Phelps Dodge, a copper mining company, he also created a prefabricated bathroom, but like the car, it was not factory produced.  And his concept of the domed stadium, drawn as a replacement for Ebbets Field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, was never built because owners of the team could not secure the property they wanted at the junction of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue.  As a result, the team moved to Los Angeles.

Of special literature note to the career of Buckminster Fuller are the 2008 catalogue of the Whitney Exhibition, Buckminster Fuller:  Starting with the Universe by K. Michael Hays and Dana Miller;  Your Private Sky, a compendium of Fuller's work by Baden Muller; and Utopia or  Oblivion: The Prospect for Humanity by Fuller and Jaime Snyder.

Karrie Jacobs, "Bucky Lives", Art in America, October 2008, pp. 49-52

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
"For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. Only ten years agao the 'more with less' technology reached the point where this could be done. All humanity now has the option of becoming enduringly successful." - Buckminster Fuller, 1980.

R. Buckminster Fuller, known by his friends as "Bucky", has undeniably been one of the key innovators in the 20th century.  He is known as a philosopher, thinker, visionary, inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician, poet, cosmologist, and more.

Buckminster Fuller was probably one of the first futurists and global thinkers. He is the one who coined the term "Spaceship Earth", and his work has inspired and paved the way for many who came after him.

Bucky was the person most responsible for making Synergy a common term. Much of his work was about exploring and creating synergy. He found synergy to be a basic principle of all interactive systems. He developed a subject called Synergetics, a "Geometry of Thinking".
Fuller is the inventor of the Geodesic dome, and was a pioneer in utilizing basic geometical shapes in design.

A key goal for Buckminster Fuller was the development of what he called "Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science", which is the attempt to anticipate and solve humanity's major problems by providing "more and more life support for everybody, with less and less resources."

Fuller routinely demonstrated his ideas in what he called "artifacts", tangible prototypes or models of designs and principles.

The Buckminster Fuller Institute located in Santa Barbara is a repository and resource concerning his work.


    •    "4-D Timelock", 1928.
    •    "And It Came to Pass - Not to Stay", 1976.
    •    "Earth, Inc.", 1973
    •    "Education Automation", 1962
    •    "Grunch of Giants", 1983
    •    "Humans in Universe", 1983
    •    "Ideas and Integrities". 1963
    •    "Intuition", 1972
    •    "Nine Chains to the Moon", 1963
    •    "No More Second Hand God", 1963
    •    "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth", 1963.
    •    "Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking", 1975.
    •    "Synergetics 2: Futher Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking", 1979.
    •    "Synergetic Stew: Explorations in Dymaxion Dining", 1982.
    •    "Tetrascroll", 1975.
    •    "Utopia or Oblivion: The Prospects of Humanity", 1969.


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