1. Home

Discuss in my forum

Richard Buckminster Fuller (Bucky): Architect, Philosopher, and Poet


Dome made of triangles

A geodesic dome is a sphere-like structure composed of a complex network of triangles

Illustration © Trevor Blake
Famous for his design of the geodesic dome, Buckminster Fuller spent his life exploring "what the little, penniless, unknown individual might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity."


July 12, 1895 in Milton, Massachusetts


July 1, 1983

Education of Buckminster Fuller:

Expelled from Harvard University during freshman year

Awards Won by Buckminster Fuller:

  • 44 honorary doctoral degrees
  • Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Important Works by Buckminster Fuller:

  • 1932: The portable Dymaxion house manufactured
  • 1934: The Dymaxion car
  • 1938: Nine Chains to the Moon
  • 1949: Developed the Geodesic Dome
  • 1967: Biosphere, the US Pavilion at Expo '67, Montreal, Canada
  • 1969: Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
  • 1970: Approaching the Benign Environment
  • 1975: Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (read Synergetics online)

Quotes by Buckminster Fuller:

  • "Whenever I draw a circle, I immediately want to step out of it."
  • "You must choose between making money and making sense. The two are mutually exclusive."
  • "We are blessed with technology that would be indescribable to our forefathers. We have the wherewithal, the know-it-all to feed everybody, clothe everybody, and give every human on Earth a chance. We know now what we could never have known before--that we now have the option for all humanity to make it successfully on this planet in this lifetime. Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment."

About R. Buckminster Fuller:

Standing only 5'2" tall, Buckminster Fuller loomed over the twentieth century. Admirers affectionately call him Bucky, but the name he gave himself was Guinea Pig B. His life, he said, was an experiment.

When he was 32, Buckminster Fuller's life seemed hopeless. He was bankrupt and without a job. He was grief stricken over the death of his first child and he had a wife and a newborn to support. Drinking heavily, Buckminster Fuller contemplated suicide. Instead, he decided that his life was not his to throw away: it belonged to the universe. Buckminster Fuller embarked on "an experiment to discover what the little, penniless, unknown individual might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity."

To this end, Buckminster Fuller spent the next half century searching for "ways of doing more with less" so that all people could be fed and sheltered. Although Buckminster Fuller never obtained a degree in architecture, he was an architect and engineer who designed revolutionary structures. Buckminster Fuller's famous Dymaxion House was a pre-fabricated, pole-supported dwelling. His Dymaxion car was a streamlined, three-wheeled vehicle with the engine in the rear. His Dymaxion Air-Ocean Map projected a spherical world as a flat surface with no visible distortion.

But Buckminster Fuller is perhaps most famous for his creation of the geodesic dome - a remarkable, sphere-like structure based on theories of "energetic-synergetic geometry'' which he developed during WWII. Efficient and economical, the geodesic dome was widely hailed as a possible solution to world housing shortages.

During his lifetime, Buckminster Fuller wrote 28 books and was awarded 25 United States patents. Although his Dymaxion car never caught on and his design for geodesic domes is rarely used for residential dwellings, Fuller made his mark in areas of architecture, mathematics, philosophy, religion, urban development, and design.

Also see Movies About Famous Architects >>>

  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Architecture
  4. Famous Architects
  5. Architects A-Z
  6. Richard Buckminster Fuller - Architect, Philosopher and Poet

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.