This day 46 years ago the American architect, designer, inventor and system theorist Richard Buckminster (“Bucky”) Fuller (12 July 1895-1 July 1983) received the Gold Medal Award from the American Institute of Architects for his outstanding achievements in architecture and design, both inspired by Nature’s geometric patterns and structures.
Buckminster Fuller belonged to the generation of pioneers that developed their inventive genius by tinkering with the material at hand, man-made or natural, finding ways to transform it into something practical and problem-solving. While at school, he had difficulties with abstract thought processes in geometry. Yet he would become a leading expert and lifelong advocate of the geodesic-dome design – a spherical or hemispherical structure of geodesics (great circles) that intersect to form triangular elements, locally stabilised, thus creating, through equal stress distribution, a very strong and robust, yet lightweight structure, cost-effective and easy to assemble to create shelters and living spaces. He left Harvard before earning a degree, yet throughout his long life he was given over 50 honorary doctoral degrees for his innumerable contributions to design, architecture, engineering, etc. His approach was interdisciplinary, his view was global, his responsibility with humankind, who could and should be globally provided with dignifying and comfortable living conditions that would not harm the planet’s ecosystem. That this is possible he proved by his creations, which have, among others, influenced eco-design and planning.
The site of the Buckminster Fuller Institute offers detailed information about Fuller’s life, philosophy and achievements, while providing links to related areas. Here is an example of a Geodesic Tent Structure.