The year is 1930. You’re sitting on your porch, maybe sipping a nice glass of sweet tea, and you drift off into a daydream. You dream of the future. Will cars fly? Have robots taken over the world? Can we time travel yet? Richard Buckminster Fuller dreamed about the house of the future. And it looked like this…
Fuller was an inventor of the 20th century. Like most every child, he struggled with geometry, but he loved to experiment with design. He was expelled from Harvard not once, but twice. So it’s safe to say that Fuller wasn’t too worried about school. But who needs school when you come up with an idea to solve the country’s housing problems?
After World War II, Fuller began to plan the single family home of the future - we call it The Dymaxion House. Just before this plan came to fruition, the inventor had a profound experience, and The Dymaxion House ultimately came about because Fuller wanted to “find what a single individual [could] contribute to changing the world, benefiting all humanity."
This home, while it may not seem futuristic to us now, was something out of this world to those who learned about its features. It was constructed with lightweight aluminum, making the home inexpensive, transportable, naturally heated and cooled, and energy efficient. No in-home theater can beat that!
Fuller built the home along the lines of the “more with less” principle. This is why the house is circular; the round form creates more space, but uses less material. A downdraft ventilator (located on top of the home) makes it easier for fresh air to come in and can withstand the force of hurricane winds! And obviously, the feature that will still blow your mind today is the automated rotating closet. Is it all wall? Nope! It’s the closet. So who’s considering ditching their home for the Dymaxion yet?
Beyond this futuristic home, Fuller went on to reinvent his most famous design - the geodesic dome. The inventor looked closely in nature to construct the dome, and he made great discoveries about compression and tension within architecture. Eventually, Fuller received a patent for geodesic domes. There are now more than 300,000 of these domes around the world, but you’d be most familiar with the one located in the Happiest Place on Earth.
Unfortunately, Fuller’s Dymaxion House never made it past the prototype phase. But it did bring such a new perspective to America that continued to inspire modern architects around the world. This designer’s “pursuit to make the world work for 100% of humanity” is what makes America’s history so great: we will continue to build off of “old ideas” to make our nation a better place.
As Host Gabe says, “Our freedom allows us to create a future that is often better than what we dreamed of in the past.”