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The Life and Times of Buckminster Fuller 203

Posted by kdawson
from the comprehensivist-for-short dept.
The New Yorker features a review of the life and work of R. Buckminster Fuller, on the occasion of a retrospective exhibition in New York 25 years after his death. Fuller was a deeply strange man. He documented his life so thoroughly (in the "Dymaxion Chronofile," which had grown to over 200K pages by his death) that biographers have had trouble putting their fingers on what, exactly, Fuller's contribution to civilization had been. The review quotes Stewart Brand's resignation from the cult of the Fuller Dome (in 1994): "Domes leaked, always. The angles between the facets could never be sealed successfully. If you gave up and tried to shingle the whole damn thing — dangerous process, ugly result — the nearly horizontal shingles on top still took in water. The inside was basically one big room, impossible to subdivide, with too much space wasted up high. The shape made it a whispering gallery that broadcast private sounds to everyone." From the article: "Fuller's schemes often had the hallucinatory quality associated with science fiction (or mental hospitals). It concerned him not in the least that things had always been done a certain way in the past... He was a material determinist who believed in radical autonomy, an individualist who extolled mass production, and an environmentalist who wanted to dome over the Arctic. In the end, Fuller's greatest accomplishment may consist not in any particular idea or artifact but in the whole unlikely experiment that was Guinea Pig B [which is how Fuller referred to himself]."
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The Life and Times of Buckminster Fuller

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Genius, no doubt, but likely to never be full understood.

    • by Dun Malg (230075) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @09:57PM (#23899095) Homepage

      Sounds a bit like Tesla...Genius, no doubt, but likely to never be full understood.

      I'd say that comparison is a little unfair to Tesla. Tesla seems nutty, but largely because he was exploring and defining the cutting edge of the science of electricity. Conversely, Fuller seems nutty simply because he was a freakin' nut.
      • by Degrees (220395) <degrees@@@sbcglobal...net> on Sunday June 22, 2008 @10:20PM (#23899239) Homepage Journal
        I went to a talk given by Buckminster Fuller. He was pretty happy that a short time before, some chemists had indeed figured out *how* to craft a buckyball. (They hadn't yet, but had formulated the process). Anyway, he showed off a model of a structure he invented. He created (and showed) a sphere built of sticks and joints held together by tension (not compression). In other words, even when you pressed on it, it redistributed the load via tension.

        You may think him a nut, but he did have some engineering talent beyond the norm.

          • by backdoorstudent (663553) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @11:20PM (#23899625)
            It's also how a spoked wheel works so it was nothing new in terms of engineering.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by drinkypoo (153816)

              It's also how a spoked wheel works so it was nothing new in terms of engineering.

              The basic calculations for stealth technology predate the development of stealth aircraft SIGNIFICANTLY because there wasn't enough available computer time, and the initial stealth aircraft were angular not because it's necessary for stealth but because the computations are dramatically simpler that way. Does that mean that modern stealth aircraft are nothing new in terms of engineering? Let's face it, progress is iterative.

        • by Dun Malg (230075) on Monday June 23, 2008 @12:43AM (#23900021) Homepage

          You may think him a nut, but he did have some engineering talent beyond the norm.

          Given that his first model of a geodesic dome collapsed under its own weight, I'd say it's more likely the engineering "talent" behind its design was chance, in that he happened to discover an interesting 3D geometric pattern. He had no particular knack for engineering. After that first dome collapsed, he tried to claim he intentionally built it too weakly, in order to see where it would fail. No one present was convinced. He imagined his "dymaxion car" would be able to cross any terrain, climb any mountain, and eventually even fly. He had no idea how this would happen, nor did he seem to care--- because he was a "visionary", not an engineer. The guy invented his own map geometry that avoided the use of pi because he found the indeterminate nature of pi "unsatisfying". A distaste for the facts of mathematics is not a trait found in engineers. No, he wasn't an engineer by any stretch of the definition of the word. The guy was a salesman, and what he sold was enthusiasm. He made most of his money on the lecture circuit, which he then blew on his harebrained "Dymaxion" crap, which lost money but generated "buzz", which drew people to his lectures. Good work if you can get it, but he was no engineer.
          • by RustinHWright (1304191) on Monday June 23, 2008 @02:19AM (#23900323) Homepage Journal
            For once I can't respond with a firm RTFA since the FA is fundamentally clueless. Which since it's in a publication with less genuine interest in technology and engineering than Parade Magazine shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

            Fuller's domes may not be The One True Faith that people like Brand wanted but they're still a damn good choice for certain kinds of commercial structures. They also got modern engineers thinking about dynamic load distribution in ways that are very relevant and important now, a time when yurt design, for example, is going high-tech fast.
            Tensegrity Posts [blogspot.com] are just now starting to be appreciated for the resource-frugal, vastly compressible wonders they are. I guarantee that we'll see more and more variations on this scheme in the coming years in structures that need to be boosted out of the gravity well or simply transported at very low cost in absolutely minimal space.
            Fuller's cardboard versions of his dome worked quite well as temporary structures during World War II. If we had any sense at all we'd be making them now out of modern materials.
            Many of his designs failed in large part for lack of, basically, computing power and, to a lesser degree, modern materials. Done with modern resources they're practical as all get out. You may want to laugh at his two piece steel bathroom but the hundreds of thousands of blowmolded shower enclosures sold every year at places like Home Despot are direct descendents. His cooling approach in the Dymaxion Home was far more sophisticated and resource-savvy than most of the "eco-homes" being built even today. And trust me, I've reviewed the plans of hundreds.

            I agree, Fuller was an obscurantist pain in the ass with some serious delusions. He also got a hell of a lot of useful work done that considerably advanced manufacturing technology, approaches in several branches of engineering, and topology. Where he focused his attention, things advanced. As for his stuff including make-do components, like the famed Ford suspension put on its side in the Dymaxion Car, he made it clear from day one that this was a proof of concept, a proof that, even with make-do parts, carried ten passengers, got over 30 mpg, and turned on its own radius. Go ahead, show me that the first proofs of concept by Burt Rutan or Armadillo Aerospace or OLPC work that well.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by dodecalogue (1281666)
            You're forgetting a key aspect of where a lot of his charm comes from, and that was that he failed out of Harvard twice. Not so great on its own, but when you realize that he went on anyhow to think and think and think and think, and write about it, he becomes a great inspiration to those of us who lack the means to even be thrown out of Harvard once.
          • Given that his first model of a geodesic dome collapsed under its own weight...

            As did the second. The third one burned down, fell over, and then collapsed under its own weight.

            But the fourth one stayed up, and that's what we have now: the strongest dome in all England.

          • by spun (1352)

            Just looked at the people posting slanderous comments against Buckminster Fuller. Surprise, surprise, conservatives hat a man who spoke out against the status quo and against corporatism.

            If you want to understand why certain people seem to hate Bucky with an unreasonable passion, read Critical Path.

        • I'm not sure if it's engineering so much as art and/or marketing. He created a movement. It's not clear that it was well advised, but people went for it.

      • by digital19 (1195625) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @10:34PM (#23899321)
        Dymaxion car was actually w-a-y ahead of its time. It got 30 mpg in 1933.

        When you look at only one invention of his, it's easy to tear apart... But when you study the breadth of his work, including his piercing insight in to globalization... I think scientists should be more like Fuller. Overspecialization has made our culture perfect, but very boring.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by belthize (990217)


                That's not a very good metric. A Model-T in 1908 got 25MPG. The Dymaxion was pretty light. The fabric roof was great on weight but kind of rough in a roll over.

                Improvements in fuel efficiency have sadly gone to making bigger, heavier vehicles. For some reason 25MPG seems to be the 'target'.

          Belthize
          ps: Wikipedia seems to think 30MPG was unheard of '33. Not sure I buy that and of course there's no source.

        • not only that (Score:3, Interesting)

          by unity100 (970058)
          but overspecialization also brings lack of innovation, vision, and in general invention.

          just think how frequent were the inventions in the 19th century. if you force yourself, you can see that institutionalization and specialization of new science branches have also brought refinements of earlier discoveries, but decreased the number of discoveries and inventions too.

          we need discovery, inventions. we are sorely lacking them these days.
          • Re:not only that (Score:5, Insightful)

            by oatworm (969674) on Monday June 23, 2008 @02:28AM (#23900381) Homepage
            No we're not. They're just so commonplace now that we take them for granted.

            In the 19th century, we got the internal combustion engine, radio, telephone, railroads, and cars, among other things. In the past 30 years alone, we've sequenced the entire human genome, can make computers pretty much any size you want, can predict weather accurately just about anywhere on the planet up to a week... the list kind of goes on like this. None of that would be possible without some serious inventiveness.

            Keep in mind that there was so little that anybody knew about our world and the universe in 1800 that it really didn't take much to come up with inventions that took advantage of the new knowledge of the time, like electricity and radio waves. Nowadays, new knowledge involves quantum physics or genetic manipulation. I'm sure that, 100 years from now, anything we come up with will seem almost trivial, but keep in mind that it took over 50 years for someone to figure out how a battery worked and what to use one with. Turnaround time on using new discoveries is, for the most part, a little faster these days.
            • Re:not only that (Score:4, Interesting)

              by blahplusplus (757119) on Monday June 23, 2008 @08:50AM (#23902023)

              Also I think the previous parent to which you were responding doesn't understand that as things become MORE complicated, we tend to remix and combine our past inventions with new ones, but the newer ones tend to be even more complex, which takes more time, this is offset somewhat by computers but right now we are OVERLOADED with information. There is so much potential for invention with the internet it's unreal, we're just too slow to realize it all.

              I'm sure in the future inventions and much of science will be automated by computer AI, and scientists will have even less of a roll to play, if ray kurzweil is even moderately right.

            • by unity100 (970058)
              all of those are inventions and perfections, new meshes of existing discoveries. human genome project is a grandchild of discovery of genetics and dna, railroads are a discovery of internal combustion, computers are still the grandchilds of simple electric current over wire, and sons of transistors. we havent advanced to light based computing for example. this would be an invention, rather than turbo engines being an 'invention' compared to first gasoline engine.

              there is still heaploads of stuff we dont
      • by ebusinessmedia1 (561777) on Monday June 23, 2008 @02:30AM (#23900393)
        And you probably weren't even born when Fuller was inventing up a storm. He was a genius, period. WAY ahead of his time, and STILL ahead of his time. I had the good fortune to hear Fuller speak when I was in grad school; he was in his early 80's. He walked on to a stage with a small folding chair and weighed in on everything from physics to the environment, and everything in between for THREE HOURS! He didn't repeat one idea; he connected everything. To this day, I have NEVER been exposed to that kind of genius. He was otherworldly - a true Renaissance man.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Naw Tesla was a briliant man that became a nutcase. Bucky was mostly a con man. He sold dreams and people bought them.
      Bucky was in the classic words of Douglas Adams, "mostly harmless"
      Not the worst way to be remembered.

      • by Admiral Ag (829695) on Monday June 23, 2008 @01:33AM (#23900191)

        FTA: "instead of finding a job, [BF] took to spending his days in the library, reading Gandhi and Leonardo."

        We need more people like this. I'm not saying that it would be a good thing if everyone were like this, but we do need more dream sellers.

        If nothing else, they make the world less boring.

        • by Aladrin (926209)

          We have plenty of them. Most of them are crackpots without a snowball's chance in hell of actually bringing anything worthwhile forward.

          The difference here is that we had a dreamer who had a brain, instead of the usual Perpetual Motion 'inventors'.

          Granted, he didn't appear to always use it, but he was able to use it to turn his random thoughts into interesting ideas pretty consitently.

    • Tesla came up with a technology that made electrical power practical. He got weird in middle age when he ran out of his better ideas and kept trying to find people to give him money.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I seem to recall from one of his biographies that , even in the best times of his life when he wasn't short on money, he had compulsions, such as having to calculate the volume of his food before he ate it, and phobias, such as not being able to touch other people's hair (except perhaps under duress "at gunpoint").

        I'm sure that once he wasn't coming up with novel, and, more importantly, immediately profitable, ideas at a rapid rate, those quirks didn't help him much. I can believe that his mental issues mi

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by LaskoVortex (1153471)

      "Sounds a bit like Tesla"

      Tesla was a true genius who invented useful devices. Tesla's inventions were grounded in sound scientific observation. BMF was profusely but marginally imaginitive and stumbled on a natural geometry found in viral capsids and clathyrin. Somehow he is credited with inventing this geometry, which is an absurd accreditation. There is no reasonable comparison between the two individuals.

  • by HitekHobo (1132869) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @09:08PM (#23898809) Homepage

    ...when you can have the entire world referring to 'Bucky Balls'.

    That should be enough for any man.

  • Cough cough (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aussenseiter (1241842) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @09:11PM (#23898817)

    He documented his life so thoroughly (in the "Dymaxion Chronofile," which had grown to over 200K pages by his death) that biographers have had trouble putting their fingers on what, exactly, Fuller's contribution to civilization had been.
    Future historians will note that this trend spiralled upwards, as more and more ceaseless bloggers continued to kick the bucket.
  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @09:20PM (#23898885)
    Given the stuff that I have read about him, he prolly would have fit in nicely with this little place we call Slashdot.
  • hallucinatory? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eclectro (227083) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @09:49PM (#23899043)

    Maybe he was prophet [thirteen.org], giving us a car that by today's standard would have been fantastic on gas mileage back in 1933. We're all gonna be using three wheels soon when we have to try to get gas at Bartertown [wikipedia.org]

  • I'll see y'all fellow New Yorkers at the opening of the Whitney show! :D
  • by throatmonster (147275) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @09:54PM (#23899077)

    ...is the conclusion I came to after trying to read "Critical Path."

  • Cloud Cities (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FlyingBishop (1293238)
    I have to admit, I've always wanted a city in the clouds, it would probably even be doable. Of course, some jackass will shoot it out of the sky before you can blink. I think that may be the problem with a lot of his ideas - they assume people have good will at heart.
    • Naw, you just need Lando Calrissian to manage it properly. He'll bitch but I hear that he's pretty good at that sort of thing.
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      I have to admit, I've always wanted a city in the clouds, it would probably even be doable.
      And I've always wanted a ring habitat around a distant star. I guess we all have to make concessions :(

  • by museumpeace (735109) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @10:33PM (#23899319) Journal
    a bunch of wusses in NY who couldn't build a dog house don't impress me much as critics. I will have to RTFA to see if they completely missed his most important influence. As a kid in high school I read Spaceship Earth. That was mid '60s, a world most of you won't remember but be assured...nobody had heard of peak oil or cared much about gas mileage. I have pretty much been for greener and less wasteful ways of doing things ever since.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iminplaya (723125)

      That book should be required reading in all schools. It's out of print, but on the net [reactor-core.org]. Take the time to read.

    • A lot of his prose sounds like schizophrenic word salads, with all kinds of unnecessary neologisms that don't convey any information. He reads like a neo-Platonic philosopher on hallucinogens.
      • He reads like a neo-Platonic philosopher on hallucinogens.

        Funny you should mention that. I'm in the middle of Pynchon's Against the Day and am thoroughly loving it. Of course, Pynchon isn't exactly intending his writing to be taken too seriously...

        Case in point:
        This person greeted the Cohen by raising his left hand, then spreading the fingers two and two away from the thumb so as to form the Hebrew letter shin, signifying the initial letter of one of the pre-Mosaic (that is, plural) names of God, whic
  • The Bucky Ball Globe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wylacot (47058) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @10:35PM (#23899327)

    If anybody wants a small sample of Bucky's genius, museum stores often sell die-cut sheets of paper which, when assembled, form a dodecahedral globe. This model is the "Fuller Projection", a more accurate representation of the world where landmasses more closely resemble their actual sizes (that is, Greenland is not as large as South America).

    I think what's more interesting about the globe is how the continents are laid out on the die-cut paper. Real relationships between continents are "duh" obvious to viewers because it's clear how people would travel from one part of the world to another (or not). It all comes together when you assemble the globe. They're cheap, so buy two.

    I had the great privilege to drive his Honda Accord (he was a spokesperson for Honda in the 70s, I think) with a relative of his across the country in 1979 or 1980 and had a chance to meet him and talk with him. The experience was transformative and motivational for me, and gave me more direction in life.

    The above paragraph may sound mushy and corny, but apparently the curators of the Whitney seem to agree with some of my sentiments. And they're harder sells than a 23-year-old.

  • Tacoma Dome (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Itninja (937614) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @10:43PM (#23899359) Homepage
    I can't say I would want a bucky ball as a personal home either, and frankly, am confused as to why anyone would even think a geodesic dome would work for such. However the Tacoma Dome [wikipedia.org] in Washington State is a geodesic dome and works very well as an arena [flickr.com]. No leaks or anything. Don't blame the design man... ;-)
    • by Pig Hogger (10379)

      However the Tacoma Dome [wikipedia.org] in Washington State is a geodesic dome

      Er, sorry to burst your bub^h^h^h dome, but if you look at the picture (and read the Wikipedia article you're linking to [wikipedia.org]), the Tacoma Dome is clearly not a Schwelder dome... (Not to imply that Schwelder have the magic touch that doesn't leak -- it's really just a question of design and workmanship).

      • by TheLink (130905)
        Why are you talking about "Schwelder domes"? Geodesic domes aren't Schwedler domes.

        References:
        http://www.geodesic-dome.co.uk/theory.htm
        http://www.surrey.ac.uk/eng/research/ems/ssrc/intro.htm#taught%20programmes
    • Even if the Tacoma Dome were a true "geodesic dome", which it isn't, using the spherical shape for a dome had been in use for at least 1500 years [wikimedia.org] before Buckminster Fuller was born.

  • Sealing domes... (Score:5, Informative)

    by zogger (617870) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @10:54PM (#23899439) Homepage Journal

    ...is not a problem. Spray foam or ferrocement works just fine. I have helped build and lived in examples of each. As to subdividing for rooms, you can use cables and tensioners (turnbuckles) for the additional floor(s) supports, build from there, with nice drop down or spiral staircases. You can get a variety of living levels then in the same structure, plus suspended walkways and..you name it, use your imagination, it's slick. They make very nice living structures. They are *much* stronger than 90 degree flat square stick frame construction (which is actually about the weakest joints you can make, it is just easier, that is why it is done so much).

    • Got any pictures or blueprints? I've been interested in building a dome for years now. Never saw one with suspended walkways, but it sounds awesome.

    • I grew up in a dome. I agree that it is practical to seal, but you do have to take care of it just like any other roof.

      The modern ferrocement seems to be the best method, though the one I lived in used spray foam and that combined with a good coating of the roof worked well.

      We also had a few different levels in the dome, with part of the space fully open. While it's true that you lose some space against the wall the thing that's nice is that any flat surface against a curved wall always has space for cabl

  • Fuller wasn't the only inventor with a cult following of dubious rationality. Just look at Ray Kurzweil. Though in Kurzweil's favor most of his inventions (1) work; (2) perform useful tasks; and (3) have had some commercial success.
  • by amitofu (705703) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @11:36PM (#23899703) Homepage

    We live in three twice-subdivided, spherically extruded gyroelognated pentagonal dipyramids [wikipedia.org] built in 1972. Two of them are stuccoed and one is shingled. They don't leak.

    They're each a single room, one with a pentagonal downstairs. I can't begin to explain how wonderful it is to live in a sphere. I love the geometry and the womb-like feeling. But I hate domes that are mangled and partitioned off like a normal house. You have to let the dome be what it is, if you do it works. And if you can't do that then you need to go with something else.

    • Your user links don't work. Is there anywhere we can look to find out more about this house you live in? If not, please at least put some images on Flickr. I, for one, would certainly link to them.
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday June 22, 2008 @11:43PM (#23899743)
    Maybe they leak, too.
  • The Synergetics Collaborative (http://synergeticists.org/ [synergeticists.org]) is building on Bucky's scientific, educational, and design methods and principles which we think may be his largest contribution.
  • The Domes Work (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday June 23, 2008 @01:29AM (#23900177) Homepage Journal

    I've been inside two geodesic dome houses, and neither of them leaked, nor were they shingled (which seems like a big pain in the ass completely contrary to the principle of the dome). The residents were very happy with the living conditions, and not just because they were into "science fiction". One had lived in it since the 1970s, and the other had worked pretty hard to get to be the latest resident of one that dated from a few years earlier.

    The interior of the domes had cubical/rectangular rooms built within them, with the spaces between then and the dome structure used for storage, not living space. Nothing stops anyone from hanging floors inside the dome, or hanging walls from the floors. And above 3m high, the top floor can have a dome ceiling. The structure itself is very strong, so you can hang all kinds of stuff off it, like a hot tub on a non-reinforced floor (because it's hanging inside a distributed load webbing, not standing on a compressed pillar). The point is to use a very small amount of material and not have to worry about straining the structure as you do things with it.

    I guess if you're like the hippies who just bought Stewart Brand's _Whole Earth Catalog_ as a conversation piece, a coffeetable book (rather than a book about how to make or do without coffee tables), you would just use a geodesic dome as a conversation piece. You'd fail to clamp plastic sheeting along the joints or caulk the joints properly, but you'd probably do that wrong on your regular old house, too.

    Fuller was a geometer, a mathematician, not a magician. His designs can be executed spectacularly wrong, just as they're spectacularly right when executed right.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MtViewGuy (197597)

      When properly engineered, a house based on a dome design have these advantages:

      1) They're extremely structurally strong. In fact, a properly-engineered dome house would probably survive a Category 5 hurricane or even an F5 tornado.

      2) They're very energy efficient, often needing substantially lower energy bills to heat and cool the structure.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        It seems to me that a pair of domes, one snapping just inside the other, could trap a sheet of plastic between them to seal perfectly at the edges of the facets, and distribute all the loads across the entire microfibrous sheet material as well as the polyhedral structure of the edges. Then vents could be cut in some facets, or sections of the sheet could be porous, starting from a sealed environment and making the desired "leakiness" down from there.

        The sheet could be bands of material, rather than one lar

      • by nuzak (959558)

        The force from a F5 tornado will lift your indestructable dome house off the foundation and carry it to Oz. The structural integrity of the thing is pretty irrelevant at that point. I do imagine it does pretty well against hurricanes, though it's water that does most of the damage, and domes have a whole LOT of joints to seal.

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday June 23, 2008 @01:46AM (#23900233) Homepage

    Geodesic domes work quite well if built properly from the right materials. They've been protecting big radars in arctic environments since the 1950s, which is an impressive achievement.

    The residential domeheads took a wrong turn when they tried to make small domes out of "natural materials". Trying to shingle a sphere was a terrible idea. Putting together prefab parts is the way to go. Fibreglas works well, but the "Mr. Natural" types didn't like Fibreglas. As Fuller pointed out, domes have to be manufactured products made cheaply, with precision, in quantity.

    There's also a subtle structural problem with domes that wasn't well understood until they could be computer-simulated. The abstract geometry produces a good structure. But in the real world, differential thermal expansion, when the sun is hitting one side of the dome more than the other, produces sizable stresses in the dome, which distorts slighlty. This was one of the major causes of leaks.

    The other major problems come from the fact that domes require a whole range of architectural components specifically designed for them, from electrical conduits to kitchen cabinets to windows. Parts designed for rectangular structures don't fit well.

  • by clintp (5169) on Monday June 23, 2008 @09:52AM (#23902783)

    The article is wrong.

    Fuller constructed a scale model of the house, which was exhibited in 1929 at Marshall Field's as part of a display of modern furniture. But no full-size version could be produced, because many of the components, including what Fuller called a "radio-television receiver," did not yet exist.
    There is a full-scale Dymaxion House: in Dearborn, Michigan at the Henry Ford Museum. That a New Yorker writer couldn't turn that fact up with a quick Google search is disappointing.


    Two prototypes were built, and one was modified and lived in for several years by the Graham family. The rebuilt house is made from parts cobbled together from the other two, and some parts that had to be re-manufactured from the original plans. Tours are given through the Dymaxion House in the museum, and I've been several times.

    • by Joe Snipe (224958)

      There is a full-scale Dymaxion House: in Dearborn, Michigan at the Henry Ford Museum. That a New Yorker writer couldn't turn that fact up with a quick Google search is disappointing.

      I believe that what the writer meant was that no full-sized reproduction could be built at that time (1929). If I recall correctly it was at least ten years before a full sized model was built.

  • I remember the "Farm Exhibit" in the Museum of Science and Industry, in Chicago, used to have a dome that, if I recall correctly, was identified as being his. Inside was a continuous running movie of the origin and future of farming. They took it out sometime in the mid-90s, I guess, as last time I was at the museum the dome was gone. Since all it was used for was to show a movie, it wasn't ever really clear to me why the dome was there in the first place.

    As I recall it was a great place to (potentially) ma

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