Design: The Dymaxion American

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support, the geodesic dome uses less structural material to cover more space than any other building ever devised. The diameter of the one built for the Union Tank Car Co. in Baton Rouge is the length of a football field. Next year the Union of South Africa expects to be using geodesic huts for low-cost housing. And within a decade it is quite possible, if Bucky has his way, that cities will roof their centers over with vast translucent domes, beneath which mass air conditioning and weatherproofing will enable houses and stores to be constructed only for privacy and aesthetic delight. Bucky has already proposed one to cover Manhattan from river to river and from 22nd St. to 62nd St. which would soar nearly three-quarters of a mile above the Empire State building, but would contain less steel than the Queen Mary.

Such superdomes are in fact already feasible; several New York designers are still smoldering at World's Fair President Robert Moses for vetoing a proposal to cover the 646 acres of the fair with a Fuller dome a mile or so in diameter. "What an opportunity missed!" says Arthur Drexler, director of architecture and design at Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art. "It would have had the same impact on the world of design as the Crystal Palace at London's great exhibition in 1851—probably more so, because the Crystal Palace prefab pieces had classical roots, whereas Bucky's dome is totally new."

Romantic Pioneer. Bucky Fuller, as he calls himself and urges everyone else to call him, is a charismatic man who attracted a cultic following even in the days when he seemed to the unclouded eye little more than some kind of a nut. Today, at 68, he is more charismatic than ever and evokes an impressive chorus of enthusiasm from many of those best qualified to judge his work.

Architect Nathaniel Owings of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill pronounces Fuller "the most creative man in our field; he's the only one that's dealing with something that's totally dissimilar to what everybody else is doing. He's tried to find out how nature really works." Architect Minoru Yamasaki calls him "an intense, devoted genius, whose mind, which is better than an IBM machine, has influenced all of us." Italy's famed Architect Gio Ponti feels that Fuller is "not only a romantic pioneer who sees 50 years ahead, but a genius who has already realized his dreams as to what humanity needs and how the world must look in the future."

Fuller unquestionably agrees with them all. He sees himself quite simply as a kind of technological avatar, come for the liberation of mankind. Says he: "In 1927 I made a bargain with myself that I'd discover the principles operative in the universe and turn them over to my fellow men."

That year of 1927 was the low point of his life, the dark night of the soul in which his real work began, when he stood on the shore of Lake Michigan and tried to decide whether or not to kill himself.

He arrived on that shore with the best New England credentials. His great-great-great-great-grandfather came from the Isle of Wight only ten years after the Mayflower's famous landing at Plymouth Rock and fathered a male line of descendants of which every one was a clergyman or a lawyer except Bucky's father, who became a merchant importer. But his most

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