Blog date:- May 29 2017-:

Amongst the retrospective programs presently running on the BBC, Horizon features a documentary on the works of Buckminster Fuller; architect and philosopher (1895 - 1983). The programs primary concern is obviously preoccupied with the development of his famous Geodesic Dome buildings. However, amongst this we are also introduced to some of the other mad-cap jewels of invention that Bucky Fuller was responsible for (and not just on paper - many of these came to physicality and examples are still around and loved today!) Buckminster Fuller was ahead of his time with his ideas - and nothing demonstrates this more than namely the Dymaxion House where development spanned from the 1920s through to the late 40s. This structure would have been capable of fitting into a 22ft long tube for transportation, costing the owner $6,000 back during the 1950s and its method of erection and segmented design making it excellent in terms of prefabrication; the internal room layout changeable and a central core mast enclosed the working components of the building for plumbing, lighting etc, plus the inclusion of its own wind turbine on the roof. The toilet required zero water, the shower, only a single cup worth. Despite appearing thinly clad, the aluminum exterior made it remarkably strong - the building would have been surprisingly robust - it was designed to be both storm & earthquake resilient. Unfortunately, although several prototype buildings (Barwise / Danbury & Wichita House variations) were constructed, the idea never went mass market due to cost to the end consumer.

Another brainchild of his was the Dymaxion car; during the 30s, initial designs somewhat resembling the outline of a flea in reverse, and its first paper-based variants including the addition of inflatable wings - an early approach to the dream of a flying car. The idea however never took off very successfully due to lack of protect funding, despite moving through 4 design revisions and prototypes being constructed (One of the No.2 variants presently resides at the National Automobile Museum, Reno, Nevada).

Though the program we learn of his collaboration with research into the structure of spores and how simple triangulation of spaces provided superior strength and flexibility of design - we are also treated to a glimpse of one of his enthusiastic lectures!

This is an enjoyable and informative documentary worth a listen:


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