Although he has been dead for almost 30 years, many people still remember the name Buckminster Fuller. Mr. Fuller, who preferred to be called Bucky, was the American architect, inventor, genius, writer, car designer and dreamer who was kicked out of Harvard twice and coined the “Spaceship Earth” idea. He felt then that even with population growth, there was plenty to go around as long as conscious conservation was in practice. Many people consider Buckminster Fuller to be the father of the green and sustainability movement, as far back as 70 years ago.
Bucky was a philosopher, futurist and urban planner who in the 1930s also designed the Dymaxion, considered the world’s first green car. But his biggest claim to fame was as an architect and early proponent of the dome home who was awarded the first U.S. patent for these futuristic-looking structures.
He built his own dome home in just seven hours in 1960 for he and his wife, Anne, in Carbondale, Illinois, where he was a professor at Southern Illinois University. They lived at the dome through 1971. Bucky and Anne died within hours of each other in July, 1983 just a few months after he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan. Here they are in the Dome’s living room:
Bucky understood that triangles have more strength than squares or rectangles of the same weight, size and material. When constructed into a dome, it was sturdy, inexpensive and economical with air moving over it rather than being trapped by traditional building methods causing leakage into the interior. Domes were also not as affected by temperature extremes and high winds. With an open interior, air could more freely circulate with air returns, making a far healthier and more comfortable environment for the inhabitants and cutting 30 to 50 percent off utility bills. Depending on how the dome is set up, people can move almost anywhere on Spaceship Earth and take their personal dome home with them. Just throw it in the back of the truck.
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com has more on Bucky Fuller and his house, including more photos. Go here to read.
The portability factor was of great interest to the military when domes were first announced and Bucky could have made an instant fortune right from the beginning could he have afforded the tooling to make it possible. Unfortunately, mass production was never possible for Bucky as he never had the startup money. The true value of the dome design became known worldwide when he built the dome for the Montreal World Expo in 1967, and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1969.
The most famous dome building today is Spaceship Earth, a long time Disney World feature and photo spot at Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida attracting over 10 million visitors a year.
Today a full effort is being made to restore Bucky’s dome for future generations. Here’s what that living room looks like today: In April, the Fuller Dome Home Organization held their first annual, week-long Dome Days festival in Carbondale to raise money for the restoration of Buckminster’s dome home. Approximately another $100,000 needs to be raised to finish the exterior and interior restoration and funding for the dome’s museum and maintenance. For more information, go to www.fullerdomehome.org