Single-cell Jitterbug
USA, 1976
R. Buckminster Fuller

Aluminum, laminate
13½ × 13½ × 9”

Architect, designer, inventor, geometrician, educator—Richard Buckminster ‘Bucky’ Fuller was a global forward-thinker and accomplished individual. Over the course of his career, he strove to improve the quality of human life through efficient design principles or as he described, “doing more with less.”

He was born in 1895 to a distinguished New England family known to be non-conformists. Fuller never received a formal education and was dismissed from Harvard University twice. It was during his time in the U.S. Navy that his aptitude for engineering soared. He invented a device that sped the recovery time of downed airplanes presenting him the opportunity for officer training at the U.S. Naval Academy. There he developed a new method of reinforcing concrete buildings, the first of his 28 patents, a concept that helped him realize his calling to serve humanity through inventive, sustainable housing. In 1927, Fuller invented the Dymaxion House, a modular apartment building, which could be easily built at low-cost and airlifted to its location. Following this pioneering design, he created a series of streamlined inventions from cars to bathrooms.

During the 1930s he published Shelter magazine and later served as the science and technology consultant for Fortune magazine. In the 1940s he began sharing his ideas around the world lecturing at Harvard, MIT and in the 1950s at the Southern Illinois University. His most widely known invention was the geodesic domes first introduced in 1947. The domes balance compression and tension throughout the structure by distributing stress and can be installed as one unit. The geodesic dome was patented in 1954 and today more than 300,000 can be found around the world. —Wright

(Photo: Wright)