The Fuller Challenge
I was in London this winter and found an interesting array of “igloos” (as they called them) all over town. These geodesic domes provided warming stations for chilly holiday strollers. With food and drink delivered from nearby pubs one could watch the bustle of the city from a cozy and private bubble.
The domes pictured above are steps away from the recreated Old Globe Theater. I wonder what Shakespeare would have thought of these retro-modern pods? I’m sure Buckminster Fuller would have been pleased. The Iconic geometry for the geodesic dome, developed by Buckminster Fuller back in the 1950’s was based on the triangle module because it has twice the strength of the more traditional architectural rectangle. He proved this by crushing the structures made from each and measuring the strength required to destroy them.
I saw the same technique used on a field trip to Drexel University’s engineering department when I was in college. A professor, whose name I have forgotten, showed us how he tested the strength of each part of a new structure by crushing it. He explained that the more symmetrical and artistic the crushed part looked the more superior the strength. Function follows form!
Buckminster Fuller - visionary architect, designer, inventor, educator and engineer described himself as a “comprehensive anticipatory design scientist”. His Geodesic Domes were part of a portable housing initiative created by Fuller after the war. By implementing new ideas for creating space in the most efficient manner- spaces that would be portable, economical, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing- he launched a new era in thinking outside the box.
In 1969, Buckminster challenged the world’s architecture students to engage in a design revolution. He called it the
“Design Science Decade”. He urged the students to “Help to make the earth’s finite resources meet the needs of all humanity without disrupting the ecological processes of the planet.”
Long story short- it took more than one decade. We are on the path, but so far the enormous trajectory of invention and change has not yielded a solution and we still still struggle to keep the planet on track.
The Buckminster Fuller Institute, www.bfi.org, offers an annual challenge to inspired thinkers to create, from a whole systems approach, solutions to complex and interrelated problems of sustainability planet wide.
Buckminster Fuller asks:
“If the success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do, then: How would I be? What would I do?"
How about you? Do you have an idea that could change the world? Maybe you should assemble a team and apply for the next challenge. Say yes to inspiration and give me a call if you do. I’d love to be a part of it.