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Architecting the Future

A duet of Buckminster Fuller's timeless inventions

by Josh Rubin in Design on 05 December 2011

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To complement the wave of events at Art Basel last week, the Miami Design District played host to a program that included trendy popup boutiques and transient cultural exhibitions. The highlight of the series for us was the resurrection of two creations from famed American architect-inventor Buckminster Fuller, whose futurist designs decorated the Palm Lot in Miami.

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Fuller's "Fly's Eye Dome" is a 24 foot structure designed in 1967 as a pre-fabricated and low-cost solution to housing. Made of 50 individual fiberglass pieces, the unit was meant to be air-deployable for use in remote locales. The dome takes into consideration material preservation, manufacturing cost and sustainable energy usage, making it relevant nearly 50 years later. The dwelling weighs about as much as an automobile despite it's impressive size, and was lit by LED lights in the recent display.

Nestled beside the dome was Fuller's Dymaxion 4 Car, a prototype for omni-directional transport system that was recently reconstructed by British architect Norman Foster. Fuller anticipated the availability of lighter materials that would eventually allow his car to accomplish vertical takeoff in the manner of a jump jet. While the Dymaxion's production halted abruptly after a fatal accident the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, the design influenced a slew of later vehicles, most notably the 1955 Fiat 600.

This marks the first time in decades that these landmarks of 20th century invention will be displayed together. Watch this exclusive time-lapse video of the installation coming together last week.

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