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Fuller in Philadelphia

October 24, 2013

The Buckminster Fuller in Philadelphia Symposium co-sponsored by the Mobilities Center and the ExCITe Center was held on October 14th at the ExCITe Center with keynote speakers Eva Díaz (Pratt Institute), Tim Wessels and Mimi Sheller (Drexel mCenter), plus a hands-on workshop led by Joseph D. Clinton building triangular tessellations. The symposium sought to reanimate the ideas of pioneering inventor, designer and global thinker R. Buckminster Fuller who lived in Philadelphia in the last decade of his life.

World Fellow in Residence

Eva Diaz

As World Fellow in Residence at the Science Center (1972-1983), Bucky Fuller had an office in the Robert Venturi-designed ISI Building, now the URBN Center of the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. He advanced his life's work in architecture, experimental design, and sustainable engineering, and helped to envision how we might survive as one planet by doing more with less. He published his books Synergetics 1 & 2, and Critical Path, which continue to inspire designers, engineers and artists today.

Medard Gabel

Design Philadelphia

The Symposium was part of Design Philadelphia, and included Díaz's talk on "Screening the Cold War"; Wessels' presentation on his involvement with Fuller in Philadelphia; and Sheller's talk on "Emergence by Emergency and Sustainability Today". Several members of the audience had worked with Fuller in Philadelphia in the 1970's, including Medard Gabel and Joseph D. Clinton, who led a fascinating workshop in which participants built wooden models of energetic-synergetic geometries discovered by Fuller.


Members of the Synergetics Collaborative held a lively discussion of the political implications of Fuller's work for the relation between technology and sustainability. They will be hosting their fourth Biennial Design Science Symposium STEM to STEAM thru SYNERGY at the Rhode Island School of Design, January 31 to February 2, 2014, featuring RISD President John Maeda.