R. Buckminster Fuller

Richard Buckminster Fuller was born on July 12, 1895, in Milton, Massachusetts. After spending most of his youth in Massachusetts and on Bear Island in Maine, he fell out of Harvard and into the US Navy during World War I. He married Anne Hewlett, the daughter of a prominent New York architect, in 1917 and spent around five years working with his father-in-law on new techniques of housing construction after leaving the navy. From 1927 on he became independent and committed himself to completely rethinking the question of shelter—relentlessly challenging every assumption about structure, function, materials, technology, aesthetics, services, distribution, mobility, communication, collaboration, information, recycling, politics, property, and social norms. He started from first principles to develop a radical philosophy of doing “vastly more with vastly and invisibly less.” The constant goal was a much more efficient and equitable distribution of planetary resources to enable the survival and ongoing evolution of the human species. His work paralleled, radicalized, and critiqued the mainstreams of modern architecture and still defies categorization today. He was a nonstop teacher and communicator around the globe in every possible medium—becoming probably the single most exposed designer and design theorist of the twentieth century. He died on July 1, 1983, in Los Angeles at the bedside of his wife, who died thirty-six hours later.