What We do
Building on the profoundly relevant legacy of 20th century inventor, architect and global systems visionary, R. Buckminster Fuller, the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) is dedicated to catalyzing transformative solutions to complex global problems through design thinking education.
Our programs combine unique insight into global trends and local needs with a comprehensive approach to design by facilitating convergence across the disciplines of art, science, design and technology, drawing attention to and supporting the best examples of whole-system thinking, and offering resources and educational platforms that inspire the next generation of design + science practitioners.
For 30 years, BFI has served the international network of Fuller-inspired innovators through the maintenance of a comprehensive Information Clearinghouse on R.B Fuller, including a detailed inventory of the practices and principles informing Fuller’s approach to design innovation; articles featuring contemporary applications of Fuller’s approach published in BFI’s website, monthly email newsletter, and on-line books; audio and video archives; and Dymaxion Artifacts, BFI’s online store featuring educational tools.
From 1983-1999 BFI served as custodians for the Fuller Archive, providing access to scholars and researchers Fuller’s exhaustive collection of papers and artifacts. In 1999 the Fuller archives were transferred to the Stanford University Libraries, where they are housed today.
BFI has a rich history of producing a number of leading-edge educational experiences across the media spectrum, these include:
Produced and recorded a series of all-day public presentations by Buckminster Fuller to over 5,000 in Los Angeles, 1983.
Co-produced and provided research for multiple exhibitions from the Fuller Archive, including a 4,000 sq. ft. exhibition that traveled to Europe and Japan for 3 years.
Co-produced an American Master’s film for PBS on Buckminster Fuller, Thinking Out Loud.
Developed and delivered for Pacific Bell Corporation the Dymaxion Laboratory college accredited course on the principles of breakthrough design strategies, to over 2,000 employees.
Conceived and developed the EARTHscope™ online geo-story-telling tool and EARTHscope™ Library.
Produced and published numerous articles, papers, booklets and maps including three versions of the Dymaxion map and two versions of the Fuller Projection Dymaxion Fold-up Globe.
In 2004, the Institute moved from Sebastopol, California to Brooklyn, New York. The move capped an intensive strategic planning process in which the organization refined its mission, streamlined its operational systems, and added several new members to its Board of Directors. The move to New York situated BFI at a major urban crossroads with access to leading universities, innovative secondary schools, unparalleled cultural centers and an international community of leading edge architects, artists, designers, engineers, planners and other thinkers. This aspect of the strategy has been critical in accelerating collaborations within concerned and talented communities in academia, business, government and nonprofit sectors.
Since our move in 2004, BFI has continued to create educational platforms for today’s design science pioneers. Notably, the Design Science Lab (2005 – 2007) and the Buckminster Fuller Challenge (2008 – present). Click here for a complete list of our current programming.