Richard Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller


Was thinking the other day - how can we have a "modern + green lifestyle filter" and not mention 'Bucky'? But where to start? The guy was an eccentric genius. He designed a car so eye-poppingly radical, it once caused a seven hour Manhattan traffic jam, as people stopped to stare. It carried 11 people, cruised at 120mph (193kph), with a fuel economy of 30mpg (7.8ltrs/100km). This was back in 1932! Then there was his Dymaxion House. Tornado resistant, self cleaning, self powered, self air conditioned and handled its own water and sewage. The house weighed only 3 ton (2% of a standard American timber framed house) and was designed to be delivered, for assembly, in a tube carried by a blimp. Erected, it looked like a metal yurt. If all that wasn't enough, the house didn't touch the ground - it rotated around a central pole! He didn't want to sell the house - yet wanted to provide people with the service of a house, anticipating the interest in Product Service Systems (PSS) long before they were popularised. Once dubbed "the Leonardo of our age", Bucky also designed the geodestic dome.

Learn more about this remarkable guy, who wrote 28 books, including "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth" and encouraged his students to make the world a better place: "You see what needs to be done, and you do it!" [by WM]

Go visit the virtual, or the physical, Buckminster Fuller Institute. They write "In 1927, on the verge of suicide, it suddenly struck him that his life belonged, not to himself, but to the universe. He chose at that moment to embark on what he called "an experiment to discover what the little, penniless, unknown individual might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity.""

Beg, borrow, buy or rent a copy of the video Ecological Design: Inventing The Future, to view rare footage of his designs in action. (And those of other green innovators.)

See some of these great little Quicktime archival movies and enlightening articles at the American Masters Thinking Out Loud backgrounder

You can contact the World Game Institute, who continue on the legacy of another Fuller innovation. "How do we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or the disadvantage to anyone?"

Visit The Henry Ford Museum in person to see his Dymaxion house for yourself or see some background at their Online Exhibition.