When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty … but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. — R. Buckminster Fuller
So much more than the man that popularised the geodesic dome, Fuller was an environmentalist, philosopher and a Unitarian.
How much does your building weigh? was a question he often used to challenge architects to consider how efficiently materials were used in their projects. This question was so insightful that it became the title of the 2010 documentary How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?
Fuller was a pioneer in thinking globally, and he explored principles of energy and material efficiency in the fields of architecture, engineering and design. He cited François de Chardenedes' opinion that petroleum, from the standpoint of its replacement cost out of our current energy "budget" (essentially, the net incoming solar flux), had cost nature "over a million dollars" per U.S. gallon (US$300,000 per litre) to produce. From this point of view, its use as a transportation fuel by people commuting to work represents a huge net loss compared to their earnings. An encapsulation quotation of his views might be, "There is no energy crisis, only a crisis of ignorance."
At The California Workshop, we share Fullers pioneering values and concerns regarding efficient use of materials, the dubious merit of petroleum products, and sustainability in general. It's just another example of how we learn from the past and are #standingontheshouldersofgiants.