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Buckminster Fuller: Designing for Mobility [Hardcover]

By Michael John Gorman (Author)
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Hailed as one of the greatest minds of our times, Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) is known as an American visionary. Designer, architect, engineer, inventor, and philosopher, he was undeniably one of the key innovators of the 20th century.This volume provides a visually rich and complete overview of Fuller's design and architectural production, situating Fuller's projects in their historical context. The book features never-before-published material from the Fuller archives that were recently donated to Stanford University.Michael John Gorman's essay offers an in-depth analysis of Fuller's work-focusing more attention on his innovative architectural projects than to other aspects of Fuller's "design science"-as well as an interesting perspective on post-war American society and architectural culture. Chapters include concepts of Fuller's philosophy, his manifesto for mass-produced housing, the role of mobile shelter in transforming behavior, geodesic domes, and Fuller's early experiments. Fuller's achievements, astonishing design, and production are fully documented using original and often unknown archival materials.
Michael John Gorman has published widely on the history of science and technology in journals including Nature, Science and Leonardo. Gorman has held fellowships at MIT's Dibner Institute, Harvard University, and the Museum of History of Science in Florence, and holds a B.A. in Physics and Philosophy from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in History from the European University Institute in Florence. He is author, with Nick Wilding, of La Technica Curiosa di Kaspar Schott (Edizioni dell'Elefante, 2000) and was Associate Curator of the Buckminster Fuller Collection at Stanford University Libraries.

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Item Specifications...


Studio: Skira
Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 11.42" Width: 9.84" Height: 0.79"
Weight:   3.42 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 13, 2005
Publisher   Skira
ISBN  8876242651  
ISBN13  9788876242656  


Availability  0 units.


More About Michael John Gorman


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michael John Gorman has published widely on the history of science and technology in journals including Nature, Science and Leonardo. Gorman has held fellowships at MIT's Dibner Institute, Harvard University, and the Museum of History of Science in Florence, and holds a B.A. in Physics and Philosophy from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in History from the European University Institute in Florence. He is author, with Nick Wilding, of La Technica Curiosa di Kaspar Schott (Edizioni dell'Elefante, 2000) and was Associate Curator of the Buckminster Fuller Collection at Stanford University Libraries.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > Architects, A-Z > Fuller, Buckminster
2Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > Architects, A-Z > General
3Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > General
4Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > International > United States



Reviews - What do customers think about Buckminster Fuller: Designing for Mobility?

Streamlined Overview of the life and work of Spaceship Earths first Test Pilot  Feb 8, 2006
Michael Gorman is the first of a new generation of Fuller Biographers who were too young to ever have known Buckminster Fuller personally. Yet this allows a fresh and critical overview of the great man's successes and failures. The book is arranged in chronological order giving a concise and vibrant account Fuller's amazing life story. However it is the inventions (realised and unrealised) he produced along the way that is the focus of this book. These inventions (or artefacts as Fuller preferred) are also the authors vehicle to explain Fuller's singular and highly developed personal philosophy.

Gorman's time in Stanford working on Fuller's personal Chronofiles is evident in the book. A very wide range of source material has been consulted including interviews with collaborators. A look at Stanford Humanities website will show you how enthusiastically they have embraced their role as custodians of Fuller's personal archives. This book seems to have been borne out of this time.

This is the ideal first book for someone who wants to learn a lot about Bucky quickly. I would recommend this to Architecture schools especially. It is the most accessible and presentable of my big collection of Fuller books. All his major inventions are appraised. Gorman's skilful synopsis of synergetic and Geodesic geometry will also enlighten the novice.

I would also recommend the book to die-hard Buckminster Fuller fans for beautiful unearthed pictures of the Montreal Expo dome in flames, craftsmen working on the Dymaxion Car and Domes in every guise imaginable. The Author's writing style will also delight new and old Fuller fans. Gorman is capable of citing little known influences on Fuller and makes interesting parallels with other visionaries form the world of art and science. It seems to me Fuller had Forrest Gump like knack of cropping up at historical events - Gorman points out the Kitchen Debate happened in a Geodesic dome.

While the author obviously admired Fullers work he does not hold him in complete reverence as others have. His successes and failures are examined in an attempt to distil what is Bucky's real architectural and philosophical legacy. Fuller believed his discoveries were more important than his own biographical details making this a fitting tribute. The book captures the paradox of Fuller in all his complexities. A non conformist egalitarian, a practical utopian and a successful failure.

Go read, and then try Fullers own Critical path if you really want your head rewired.
 
Great Expectations Unfulfilled  Feb 1, 2006
This book is not a complete biography of Buckminster Fuller. It is not a complete review of Buckminster Fuller's work. I did not expect them to be such.

However, I was expecting a review of work related to mobility, as implied by the title. What Gorman provides is a light biography and work review, with a long narrative of synergetic geometry and other principles (i.e. lots of talk of tetrahedrons, cuboctahedrons, icosahedrons, and axes, when diagrams would have been infinitely more helpful). The book is essentially a biography/career review-lite.

Although he does present a decent amount of information, I found the book to be rather rambling and disconnected from its theme. It seems Gorman became lost at times in Fuller's principles, forgetting that the book was to be centered around Fuller's work from the perspective of mobility. He seems to pop up every now and then to blatantly remind the reader (and perhaps himself) of the theme, but the content sort of betrays it.

Other problems I had are:

1) A significant number of photos had already been presented in previous works (albeit more fuzzy). I wondered if anything new had actually been contributed by this book, visually.

2) Gorman is far too apologetic when it comes to Fuller's view of intellectual property. Fuller claimed students' work as his own without giving them credit, claimed that he was the founder of tensegrity (rather than Snelson; and I'd bet Fuller claimed this at times without the caveat that Snelson was creating art, rather than a functional engineering principle), and claimed that he invented the octet truss when he was 4 years old to dispute a counterclaim that Alexander Graham Bell had actually come up with the structure (somehow, a kindergarten teacher corroborated this story). Somehow, Gorman thinks Fuller's approach was "rational," and actually argues that stealing the credit of his students' work was merely Fuller protecting his own intellectual property (p. 122; see pp. 116, 117, 177, 178).

In short, Gorman loses the theme of his book by its chronological retelling of Fuller's life. Instead, this book should have been an argument of how Fuller designed for mobility without all of the background on Fuller's lifetime evolution.

In his colloquial book Bucky Works, Baldwin provides a decent bibliography that should be consulted for better books and works on Fuller (although Bucky Works itself is more of a discussion of Fuller projects in which Baldwin was involved). I'd consult Baldwin's bibliography before this book.

 

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