R. Buckminster Fuller, ‘Thirty Strut Tensegrity Sphere’, 1980, Edward Cella Art and Architecture

In Thirty Strut Tensegrity Sphere, Edition 6 of 10, wire individually snakes through thirty stainless steel tubes. Tensional integrity, or tensegrity – a term coined by Fuller, is the structural relationship principle by which each steel tube stabilizes the others by balancing forces of compression and tension. Fuller envisioned a future in which these tensegrity spheres could be used as buoyant “Cloud Nine” structures, sheltering autonomous communities of several thousand people. When trapped solar energy and human activity heated the air inside above the ambient temperature, the spheres themselves would be rendered lighter than the surrounding air, and could thus levitate.

Thirty Strut Tensegrity Sphere illustrates Fuller’s inventiveness and contributions to science and architecture, which remain influential to artists, inventors, and architects alike. An author of nearly 30 books and an avid lecturer, Buckminster strongly advocated for the sharing and discussion of innovation in design, a goal that remains central to mission of the Buckminster Fuller Institute today.

About R. Buckminster Fuller

Best known for popularizing the geodesic dome, R. Buckminster Fuller produced theories and contributions to science, architecture, and design that amounted to a sweeping and utopian vision for the future. Self-described as a “comprehensive, anticipatory design scientist,” Fuller sought to alter the landscape of daily life with his prefabricated homes and cutting-edge vehicles. “My objective was humanity’s comprehensive success in the universe,” he once said. His projects include the “Dymaxion” house and car, whose simplicity and adaptability to different landscapes were intended for mass production and efficient living, though neither was ever made widely available. The spirit of Fuller’s inventiveness remains influential to present-day entrepreneurs, artists, and inventors alike.

American, 1895-1983, Milton, Massachusetts, based in Los Angeles, California