The Geodesic Gospel According to Buckminster Fuller

Not everyone wakes up with a vision of improving housing for humanity. And by this improvement, I mean coming up with transformative architectural design that captured the imagination of many a people. This architectural design was christened 'geodesic dome'. The man who gifted the world with it was called Richard Buckminister Fuller, popularly known as Bucky.

A theorist himself, fondly remembered for his mantra 'more for less', Bucky knew that there is nothing new under the sun. Indeed the man who created the first geodesic dome; Dr. Walther Bauersfeld, did it a good three decades before Bucky took over. Bucky is widely associated with geodesic domes because of his vigor in spreading the word about them.

A Man of Many Hats

Born in 1895, Bucky came into the world with the determination of inspiring mankind with a plethora of things. He was a seasoned inventor, a daring designer, an assertive architect, a bold artist, a patient teacher, an aggressive entrepreneur and a liberal theorist. His creative efforts stood out and won him the admiration of people from all over the world. He just could not stop churning up ideas, designs and inventions. Of all his inventions, the geodesic dome took center stage in his life. He had finally found the answer to his twenty year quest to improve the way humans live.

The Geodesic Dome

Although he erected the first geodesic dome in 1949, Bucky was given the patent in 1954; making it patent number 2,682,235 in the United States of America. A geodesic dome is a spherical shaped structure made up of a complex network of triangles. His breakthrough idea of creating spherical structures from triangles as opposed to rectangles or squares bore fruits due to the tremendous strength attributed to triangular structures.

What Makes A Geodesic Dome Tick?

Where do we start? Think of a structure that is lightweight. In addition to that, give it the elusive quality of cost effectiveness. As if not enough, say it is also easy to assemble. Add on the qualities of energy efficiency and resilience in the face of extreme weather conditions, and you can be proud to say you have just conjured a geodesic dome in your mind. All these benefits are brought about by simple ideas on housing and energetic-synergetic geometry.

Go Into All The World And Preach The Gospel

1954 was the year when the international architectural community accepted the work of Bucky at the Milan Triennale. From then onwards, the interest in geodesic domes took an upward trajectory. Thousands of geodesic domes have been constructed all over the world. Geodesic domes' unique quality of utter strength make them endearing especially to the people who live in harsh conditions. It is no surprise that geodesic domes have become particularly popular in Africa, Antarctica and other regions in the world with extreme weather conditions.

Bucky's Best Work

Every artist is noted for his or her best work. Arguably, Bucky's best work was the Montreal Biosphere; geodesic dome that measured 76 metres in diameter and was 62 metres high. It was created to house the US Pavilion at Montreal's Expo 1967. It boasted of an intriguing system of shades, triangular blinds and acrylic panels that regulated internal temperature, blocked extremely bright sunlight and ensured utter transparency respectively.

The Death of Bucky

The 87 year old mastermind of geodesic domes breathed his last in 1983 following a heart attack. His beloved wife of 67 years died two days later. Geodesic domes continue to appeal to many people across the world. Surely humanity could have been denied the gift of geodesic domes were it not for the great Bucky.


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