BuckyWorks: Buckminster Fuller's Ideas for Today

BuckyWorks: Buckminster Fuller's Ideas for Today

by J. Baldwin
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

"A pleasure to read." -Architectural Review

"A wonderful, nontechnical introduction to one of this century's most fascinating minds." -Whole Earth Review

"Original . . . [and] valuable, because it describes . . . Fuller's original techniques." -Architectural Record.

Architect, mathematician, engineer, inventor, visionary humanist, educator, inspirational

…  See more details below

Overview

"A pleasure to read." -Architectural Review

"A wonderful, nontechnical introduction to one of this century's most fascinating minds." -Whole Earth Review

"Original . . . [and] valuable, because it describes . . . Fuller's original techniques." -Architectural Record.

Architect, mathematician, engineer, inventor, visionary humanist, educator, inspirational orator, and bestselling author, R. Buckminster Fuller has been rightly called "the 20th-century Leonardo da Vinci." Written by a fellow inventor who worked with Fuller for more than three decades, BuckyWorks is an inspiring celebration of the man, his ideas, his inventions -and his legacy for our future. Featuring over 200 photographs and drawings, plus dozens of fascinating excerpts from Fuller's lectures and conversations with the author, this book offers a breathtaking inside look at one of the truly great minds of our time.

J. BALDWIN is an inventor and teacher who worked under, with, and for R. Buckminster Fuller for more than three decades. He served as an editor of the Whole Earth Catalog and the Whole Earth Review for 25 years.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Philip Leggiere

"Buckminster Fuller was the last American thinker to really believe in the future," observed architect Philip Johnson after Fuller's death in 1983. Which may account for the anomalous position the charismatic utopian futurist holds at the fin de siècle. Technology we surely have -- as cyber-cultural commodity fetish or nightmare ecological and social nemesis -- but in an era of postmodernist pessimism, Fuller's trademark technological humanism appears almost an oxymoron, more quaint than relevant. Fuller, to be sure, is fondly remembered, but seldom read and even more seldom considered terribly salient to business and politics as usual.

In this context, J. Baldwin's BuckyWorks comes as a pleasant surprise. Eschewing the twin biographical temptations of hagiography and cynicism, Baldwin, a former student of Fuller's and editor of the Whole Earth Catalogue, succeeds (no mean achievement) in making Fuller unsafe for intellectual nostalgia.

Baldwin concentrates primarily on Fuller as inventor, the occasionally successful (or, more often, ahead of his time) entrepreneur and maverick engineer of the visionary. He sketches, in extensive detail, high points of 60-plus years of design, ranging in focus from the cosmos to, literally (with Fuller's energy efficient "Packaging Toilet"), the commode. Included are discussions (complete with illustrations, diagrams and photos) of Fuller's major projects -- the Dymaxion House and Dormitory, Dymaxion Car, Geodesic Domes and Fuller's Synergetic-Energetic System of Geometry -- as well as marginalia and humorous curiosities such as the "Steak-Prune and Jello" diet Fuller followed and his pioneering of the "power nap".

As a historian of design and technology, Baldwin presents Fuller's schemes warts and all, unflinchingly describing the leaks which plagued Fuller's domes, the poor insulation in the Dymaxion home prototype and the erratic back steering system of his three-wheeled Dymaxion Car. However, far from seeing these as merely eccentric dead ends or esoteric museum pieces, Baldwin persuasively makes the case that Fuller's prophetic forays into ecologically sustainable alternative technology (and the vision of post-scarcity abundance which inspired them) are likely to become ever more influential and relevant as we enter a new century. -- Salon

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A useful, informal introduction to visionary engineer Buckminster Fuller's ideas, discoveries and inventions, this survey is illustrated with some 200 photographs, drawings and plans that help demonstrate how Fuller nurtured concepts from paper napkin to finished gizmo. Baldwin, an editor of Whole Earth Catalog and Whole Earth Review, is an inventor who worked closely with Fuller (1895-1983) and who has designed and built experimental domes. Along with Fuller inventions and blueprints such as the aluminum, aerodynamically modeled Dymaxion car, the geodesic dome, "Lightful House" 12-deck residential towers and energy-efficient corrugated cottages with silo tops, Baldwin explains synergetics, Fuller's system purporting to describe the coordinates and energy flow of the universe. He also discusses the World Game Institute, founded by Fuller in 1972, which conducts workshops demonstrating how a small fraction of the world's military expenditures could be redeployed to eliminate starvation and malnutrition, stabilize the population and provide clean, safe energy. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Architect, mathematician, engineer, inventor, educator, and more, Buckminster Fuller was twice kicked out of Harvard. Eventually, he joined the navy, which appealed to his sense of organization and interest in engineering and invention. Baldwin met Fuller at the University of Michigan while a freshman design student and studied and worked with him for the next 30 years. His book, which reflects its subject's eclectic nature, tries to capture both the breadth and depth of Fuller's ideas and creations. Photographs of the early prototypes are intriguing, and Baldwin's comments that many of Fuller's engineering concepts are just now becoming viable due to the development of appropriate construction materials shows us how far ahead of his time Fuller was. The structure of this book is somewhat unclear, but the content is always fascinating. For popular science collections.-Hilary Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471198123
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
08/28/1997
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
8.09(w) x 9.11(h) x 0.61(d)

Meet the Author

J. BALDWIN is an inventor and teach-er who worked under, with, and for R. Buckminster Fuller for more than three decades. He served as an editor of the Whole Earth Catalog and the Whole Earth Review for 25 years. Baldwin recently led the team that disassembled Fuller's 1945 Wichita Dymaxion House for use in a display at the Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >