The Buckminster Fuller Institute is dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of solutions which radically advance human well being and the health of our planet's ecosystems. We aim to deeply influence the ascendance of a new generation of design-science pioneers who are leading the creation of an abundant and restorative world economy that benefits all humanity.
After being spurned early in his career by the architecture and construction establishments, Fuller was later recognized with many major architectural, scientific, industrial, and design awards, both in the United States and abroad, and he received 47 honorary doctorate degrees. In 1983, shortly before his death, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, with a citation acknowledging that his "contributions as a geometrician, educator, and architect-designer are benchmarks of accomplishment in their fields."
After 1947, one invention dominated Fuller�s life and career: the geodesic dome. Lightweight, cost-effective, and easy to assemble, geodesic domes enclose more space without intrusive supporting columns than any other structure; they efficiently distribute stress; and they can withstand extremely harsh conditions. Based on Fuller�s "synergetic geometry, his lifelong exploration of nature�s principles of design, the geodesic dome was the result of his revolutionary discoveries about balancing compression and tension forces in building.
In 1927, after the construction company failed, Fuller was unemployed and contemplated suicide, but he had a remarkable realization. Deciding that he had no right to end his own life, he concluded that he had a responsibility to
use his experiences and intellect in the service of others. As a consequence, he spent nearly two years as a recluse, deep in contemplation about the universe and how he could best contribute to humanity.
"Synergetics is the system of holistic thinking which R. Buckminster Fuller introduced and began to formulate. Synergetics is multi-faceted: it involves geometric modeling, exploring inter-relationships in the facts of experience and the process of thinking. Synergetics endeavors to identify and understand the methods that Nature actually uses in coordinating Universe (both physically and metaphysically). Synergetics provides a method and a philosophy for problem-solving and design and therefore has applications in all areas of human endeavor."
“Everything you've learned in school as "obvious" becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.”
This programme and his accompanying vision of a world united by the most modern means of transport and telecommunication evolved into Fuller’s philosophy of four-dimensional, or 4D design. He defined this as thinking in time instead of only the three dimensions of space: thinking of consequences for humanity instead of only immediate personal gain.
As well as housing, Fuller was determined to design a revolutionary new car. In 1928 he had conceived a flying car with inflatable wings which was modified in subsequent drawings into a streamlined road vehicle the rear of which would rise in an aerodynamic lift to ‘fly’ steered by a rudder as the front rolled. In 1933 he presented his plans for the three-wheeled Dymaxion Car with rear steering and front-wheel drive powered by a Ford engine.
The grandnephew of the American Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller, Bucky was born on July 12, 1895 in Milton, Massachusetts. He was twice expelled from Harvard. Later, Bucky married Anne Hewlett in 1917 and went into the construction business with her father. A decade later he witnessed the first of many business failures, when, due to economic difficulties, he was forced out of the company. Despondent over these failures and family problems, he resolved to focus his energies on a search for socially responsible answers to the major design problems of his time.
Buckminster Fuller spent his life working across multiple fields, such as architecture, design, geometry, engineering, science, cartography and education, in his pursuit to make the world work for 100% of humanity. Fuller insisted on resisting monikers of specialization to describe his work, preferring instead to describe his output as that of a 'comprehensive anticipatory design scientist ' - 'an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist.'