Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller in front of the World’s Fair dome in 1967.

January 10, 2019

Lectures, tours and workshops highlight fiftieth anniversary of Buckminster Fuller’s design revolution

by Hannah Erickson

CARBONDALE, Ill. — In 1969, designer, scientist, developer, writer and Southern Illinois University Carbondale professor Buckminster Fuller published his manifesto for a design revolution. Now, fifty years later, Fuller’s work will be recognized as part of the Charles D. Tenney Lecture series at SIU.

The three-day event is set for Feb. 5-7, and features unique presentations, interactive workshops and tours of the famed Buckminster Fuller Dome Home.

Buckminster Fuller Institute chairman to give keynote presentation

As the 2019 Charles D. Tenney lecturer, David McConville, chairman of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, will open the event on Feb. 5 with a presentation focused on the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Fuller’s book, “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.”

When Fuller first released this revolutionary book several generations ago, it greatly influenced societies thinking about the purpose and potential of humanity. Now, McConville is looking back at Fuller’s original vision and building an understanding of why that vision emerged in Carbondale, and how it could continue to change education in the future.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to attend the presentations, workshops and tours. Interview opportunities may be available with David McConville, keynote speaker and Chairman of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, and Kurt Przybilla, guest speaker and co-creator, writer and producer of the Molecularium Project at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. For more information contact Elizabeth Donoghue, SIU University Honors program mentor, at jdonoghue@siu.edu or 618/453-3471.

Special guest to lead hands-on workshop

Buckminster Fuller is famous for many things, but one of the most prominent of all his inventions were his unique, geodesic domes. The Fuller Dome Home, located in Carbondale, represents Fuller’s interesting designs and stands as an important legacy of his work.

As part of the Charles D. Tenney lecture, special guest Kurt Przybilla will lead a hands-on workshop exploring the key concepts of Synergetics and Fuller’s philosophy behind his designs. Participants will build structural systems, geodesic domes, models of nanostructures and prototypes of their own designs. Tours of the famed Fuller Dome Home will also be available Feb. 6-7.

An inventor, writer, producer and educator, Przybilla has long been inspired by Fuller’s work. As co-creator of the Molecularium Project at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Przybilla has developed multiple games and toys to introduce young audiences to the world of atoms and molecules. His toy, Tetra Tops®, the world’s first spinning top with more than one axis, gained national attention after it was featured in the New York Times, Popular Science, the Smithsonian Institute and more.

Schedule includes multiple events for all audiences

All events are free and open to the public, but due to limited workshop and tour space, participants must RSVP by contacting the University Honors Program at 618-453-2824 or honors@siu.edu.

Feb. 5

  • 7 p.m. An Invisible Revolution: keynote presentation with David McConville at the SIU auditorium.
  • Reception to follow in the International Lounge.

Feb. 6

  • 1-4 p.m. The Geometry of Thinking: hands-on interdisciplinary workshop with Kurt Przybilla at Quigley Hall.
  • 5 p.m. Reception and viewing of Buckminster Fuller models and student workshop models at Quigley Hall.
  • Buckminster Fuller Dome Home Tours are available with prior reservation. Each tour typically lasts 1 hour.

Feb. 7

  • 11 a.m. Beyond the Bubble: presentation with David McConville at the Communications building room 1116 on the SIU campus.
  • 4 p.m. Regenerating Earth: From Problems to Potential: Discussion with David McConville. Located in the Morris Library Guyon Auditorium, and co-sponsored by SIU Sustainability.
  • Buckminster Fuller Dome Home Tours are available with prior reservation. Each tour typically lasts 1 hour.

Collaborative effort

The 2019 Charles D. Tenney Lecture is a collaborative effort of several organizations, including the General Student Fee, the University Honors Program, Mass Communication and Media Arts, SIU Sustainability, The Buckminster Fuller Dome Home NFP, the School of Architecture, SENSE RSO and the Honors Assembly RSO.