Home Books Review: ‘Inventor of the Future,’ by Alec Nevala-Lee

Review: ‘Inventor of the Future,’ by Alec Nevala-Lee

by Jersey Lady

The author clearly admires his subject matter, which makes some aspects of his sober narrative all the more unsettling. A series of incidents, often with very young women. excessive drinking; a monumental ego that often acted against one’s own better interests; A protective instinct for his ideas that borders on paranoia. And always that finely crafted “reality distortion field”. For those who have encountered and been influenced by Fuller, like this reader, reading these revelations is a chastisement experience. In his public life, Fuller could come across as a selfless seer, an almost secular saint. In Nevala-Lee’s biography, he is too human.

Who is Richard Buckminster Fuller Jr.? He was born in 1895, in the affluent Boston suburb of Milton, Massachusetts, into a New England dynasty, nephew of feminist writer and editor Margaret Fuller. Following his precedent, young Fuller attended Harvard. Like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, he didn’t voluntarily leave, but dropped out — he was expelled twice. Fuller became an entrepreneur, but he was not a genius. Jobs lived only 56 years. By the age of 53, all Fuller had to prove for his efforts was a string of business failures: a construction system that made it easy for financial backers to force him out of the company. A tricycle prototype that repeatedly could have seriously injured his wife and daughter, a prefabricated house that resembled a flying saucer and never progressed past the prototype stage.

Despite these setbacks, Fuller never held back. His unconventional imagination and energetic optimism captivated admirers and supporters. A bohemian at heart, he befriended composer John Cage and sculptor Isamu Noguchi, as well as Margaret Mead and Marshall McLuhan. “Bucky Fuller kept pretending to be an architect, not an architect,” complained Philip Johnson, immune to Fuller’s charisma. Still, it was precisely among architects that Fuller gained a vigorous following. He taught in architecture schools, his work was published in architectural magazines, and he was associated with Charles his Eames and Frank his Lloyd his Wright. It was Wright who slyly put Fuller in his place. Buckminster is a scientist with an interest in architecture. “

Then came the dome. By the late 1940s, Fuller had learned his lesson and avoided investors and financial backers. He built the first experimental geodesic dome cheaply, initially with students from his Mountain College in Black, a progressive school in North Carolina. They are very strong for their size, maximizing internal volume with minimal material. The first practical geodesic application was the cover of Ford’s rotunda in Dearborn, Michigan. The lightweight lattice structure weighed 20 times less than a conventional steel roof and was not strong enough for the building to support. Other domes included the Arctic Radar His enclosure (radome). America Exhibition Pavilion in Moscow (site of the famous Nixon Khrushchev “Kitchen Debate”). Hawaii Auditorium for businessman Henry J. Kaiser. Temporary Marine shelter. His 384-foot-wide dome at his Union Tank Car Company in Louisiana is the largest structure ever built without internal support.

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