Welcome to a World of Opposite Directions

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 12:44 PM
Starting Points are important. When Buckminster Fuller designed a series of houses known as the Dymaxion Project, he started with the universe.

Later, he ended up with a prefabricated design.

When Nicolas Lacy designed Container City in London, he started with a box.

Later, it became a system of building that spread around the world.

The development of each of these projects can be traced in opposite directions.

The Dymaxion Project began with a set idea about the universe and the future, and became progressively more specific until it culminated in a prefabricated design.

Container City began with a prefabricated building block, and grew into multiple possibilities for the future.

In succeeding posts, these threads are picked up, woven together, and carried along to describe the development and results of Fuller's and Lacy's designs.

In the end, although "Bucky's" design did not enjoy the same kind of direct success with which Container City has been met, we are not passing judgment on his method or his views.

However, it does seem clear that big visions require a revolution in order to happen.

In the case of the Dymaxion House, Fuller's theory about the entire universe was to be encompassed in a single design, meant to be the beginning of a cure for all humand problems. He had to use prefabrication in a mass-produced way, designing every component of his houses from scratch. A whole new industry would have been required to put his ideas in production.

Small visions, on the other hand, based on things, happen in regard to situations.

Container City began with a single building block. Because there was a surplus of containers in the West, Nicolas Lacy's design was essentially using 'off-the-shelf' materials, rather than creating any new infrastructure. The plan worked at a small scale, and began to grow.

The pragmatic approach is not the only way, and there is still a place for visionary ideas. But in a postmodern world which changes constantly, beginning with things and situations is more flexible.

In any case, welcome. Welcome to a world of opposite directions.


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