Contact Us

R. Buckminster Fuller Collection Architect, Systems Theorist, Designer, and Inventor

Who was Bucky Fuller?

Richard Buckminster Fuller (July 12, 1895 - July 1, 1983) was born in 1895 in Milton, Massachusetts. As a youth, "Bucky," as he was known by friends and relatives, attended Milton Academy in Massachusetts. He also spent many happy summers vacationing on a small island off the coast of Maine, where he enjoyed sailing and spending time outdoors. Bucky entered Harvard University in 1913, but he was expelled from the university in 1914 for failing to fulfill his academic responsibilities; he was allowed to re-enter Harvard a few months later, but was expelled for the second and final time in 1915. In 1917 Bucky joined the U.S. Naval Reserve, patrolling the waters off the coast of Maine in a small boat that he volunteered for service. From 1918-19 he continued to work for the U.S. Navy, although he resigned in 1919 in order to spend more time with his wife Anne and their first daughter, Alexandra. Tragically, Alexandra would die from spinal meningitis and other complications in 1922.

In 1927, shortly after the birth of his second daughter, Allegra, Bucky came to a major turning point in his life. Although he had worked a number of jobs, he had not found financial success, nor personal happiness in his work. Unemployed and poor, he could hardly support his wife and newborn child. Feeling helpless and hopeless, Bucky even considered ending his own life. However, in a sudden life-changing realization, he realized that he could still make a difference in the world. He decided to follow an unconventional path in life and to see what one individual, working alone, could do to improve the world. He began by designing an inexpensive, lightweight single family dwelling called the Dymaxion House. He also designed a lightweight, streamlined Dymaxion Car. For the next five decades, Bucky would remain active as an inventor, teacher, author, poet, and mapmaker who would inspire many other people in his quest to make the world a better place for mankind. Bucky is probably best known as the inventor of the geodesic dome.