The Dymaxion Ideal
| an exploration of the life and works of R. Buckminster Fuller... engineer, architect, inventor, and philosopher.
| articles and features
| page five
One component of the 4D House was most revolutionary. Termed the Dymaxion Bathroom, it provided a radical departure from traditional plumbing techniques. The Dymaxion Bathroom was a pre-fabricated, plug-in unit occupying only twenty-five square feet in area. The entire shell including fixtures, heating, and forced ventilation weighed 420 pounds and was assembled from four stamped aluminum sections. These sections could easily be carried up narrow stairs by two men and simply bolted together in a matter of minutes.
However, it is perhaps from one of Fuller's minor inventions that his most noted accomplishment would be realized. The Dymaxion Airocean Map provided cartography with a new look at the world. It relied on the triangle as opposed to the traditionally employed square, to subdivide the globe with significantly less distortion. Three-dimensionally, the sections fitted together would ultimately form an icosahedron or twenty-sided globe.
"If I can ever do the mathematics of this, I feel that I can make a completely triangulated spherical structure, I think the same grid can be worked here..."
It was this relatively obscure notion of Fuller's in 1941 that later inspired him to achieve the most conspicuous creation of his lifetime, the geodesic dome.
Among his first domes was for the Ford Motor Co. in 1953. The project, in order to fulfill the wishes of the late Henry Ford, called for a dome enclosing an existing open courtyard at the Ford headquarters. The architects and engineers however, maintained that such a structure was unfeasible - the most efficient conventional dome capable of spanning the 93 foot aperture would weigh 160 tons, enough weight to easily collapse the steel framed walls of the courtyard. Someone then suggested consulting Fuller on the viability of the project. After several short calculations, Fuller declared that a geodesic dome would note only meet the requirements of the project, but it could span the opening at the unimaginable weight of only 8 1/2 tons. Despite the skepticism of Ford engineers, the dome was in place a little over four months later in time for the Ford Motor Co. fiftieth anniversary celebration. The light, economical use of materials and techniques had allowed Fuller to demonstrate the capabilities of the modern age in new and unprecedented ways.
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Buckminster Fuller's Universe: His Life and Work
This wonderful book traces the life and creations of this most unique and brilliant mind. A great introduction to Fuller's works, the book reveals the events that not only shaped his life, but his many inventions and architectural innovations as well.