Gallery: VIDEO: The Buckminster Fuller Institute

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The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) is an organization after Inhabitat’s own heart. It was formed by the visionary eco architect/designer’s family in 1983 to champion Buckminster Fuller’s amazing legacy and provide the design world — and the rest of humanity, for that matter — with the tools we need to solve the world’s most pressing problems. Buckminster Fuller was a “full systems thinker” — he was a renaissance man who foresaw the problems we are facing now decades before anyone else, and came up with innovative, thoughtful ways to solve humanity’s most pressing problems around energy, shelter and natural resources. Sadly, this amazing man is no longer with us, but The Buckminster Fuller Institute marches forward in his name with a handful of thought-provoking programs for designers. Their flagship initiative is the Buckminster Fuller Challenge design competition to provide solutions to complicated social/environmental problems. Inhabitat covers the BFI Challenge finalists every year, and we were thrilled to announce the winner of the 2010 competition in a video! Watch our video profile (above) to learn about BFI, Bucky’s legacy, and the inspiring winner of this $100,000 prize.

Along with the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, BFI has a number of programs that champion Bucky’s comprehensive anticipatory design science model. They hold lectures, seminars, workshops and hands on training programs as a part of their Design Science Education initiative. The largest program is the Design Science lab, a 7-10 day immersion in the study of design science. They hold Prototype labs where artists, designers, engineers and thinkers come together to physically build structures that re-contextualize Bucky’s ideas.

They also have an immense library of artifacts and information from Bucky’s life and beyond. This is split into two parts – the Study Center is located in Brooklyn and is a wide reaching library of information from Buckminster Fuller’s own research. The Idea Index is a comprehensive list and researchable database of all of the entries to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge over the last few years — the Idea Index is available online. The Buckminster Fuller Institute is championing the legacy of one of Inhabitat’s favorite thinkers while pushing contemporary designers and engineers to follow in his footsteps by looking at the big picture.

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  1. Eric Hunting June 7, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Not to detract from the great work the entrants of this competition do, I\’ve rather lost interest in the BFI Challenge as, year by year, they\’ve raised the bar for the minimum production value of entrants\’ media to where no idea that isn\’t presented like a BBC documentary has the slightest chance. Like so many of these competitions, the reviewers won\’t really invest the time and intellectual effort to deeply examine concepts so in the final analysis it\’s all down to pretty pictures/video. So the only people who have any hope of winning are those so flush with cash or other support and so far along in development to begin with -and thus able to afford high production values- that they hardly need it.

    It\’s like the rich philanthropists who suddenly come out of the woodwork to back headliner projects when they\’re on the verge of being a fete accompli so they can grab a place in the history books but don\’t have the stomach for supporting them in earlier stages when they still have some risk of failure and require evaluation on their own merits. They don\’t care about ideas. They just want guaranteed winners. Again, I make no criticism of the winners here. I just wonder whether they\’re really only being exploited for the sake of BFI\’s self-aggrandizement. You\’ll never see a William Kamkwamba come out of this competition.

  2. Edward Van Valen June 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Congrats to all the Finalists! Each and every one of you is a winner in my book. Continually providing me with hope for a greater tomorrow.

  3. Rebecca Paul June 4, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Everyone of these finalist deserves an award. It’s truly inspiring to learn of people who are committed to solving some of humanities problems in such an innovative and progressive way.

  4. Jasmin Malik Chua June 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Buckminster Fuller was a great visionary—it’s great to see his legacy inspires others to think laterally.

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