R. Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller’s legacy: Thomas T.K. Zung, a former student of noted futurist, architect and designer R. Buckminster Fuller (shown in his dome home library) will present a lecture on Fuller’s legacy April 7 at SIU Carbondale. (Photo of R. Buckminster Fuller provided by Morris Library)

March 28, 2024

SIU to host lecture highlighting R. Buckminster Fuller’s work on April 7

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A free, public presentation on the work and legacy of noted futurist, architect and designer R. Buckminster Fuller by one of his former students is set for Sunday, April 7, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Noted architect Thomas T.K. Zung, president and senior partner of Buckminster Fuller, Sadao, and Zung Architects, will present “The Dymaxion World of R. Buckminster Fuller” at 3 p.m. in the Quigley Hall Auditorium, Room 140B. There will be a reception and an opportunity to meet with Zung immediately after the presentation.

Media advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to attend the presentation by noted architect Thomas T.K. Zung. For more information on the event or to arrange for interviews, contact Elizabeth Donoghue, assistant director, University Honors Program, at elizabeth.donoghue@siu.edu or 618-525-3099; Judy Ashby, secretary, RBF Dome Home NFP at judybug2@frontier.com or 618-549-5578 or Ben Lowder, RFB Dome Home board member, at benlowder@hotmail.com or 217-503-5800.

Sponsored by SIU Carbondale’s School of Architecture, SIU Sustainability, the University Honors Program, the city of Carbondale and the R. Buckminster Fuller Dome Home Not-for-Profit organization. Zung’s presentation is one day before the April 8 total solar eclipse.

studio_zung_2_541_480x480-2.webpZung is the sole remaining architectural partner who worked with Fuller on notable geodesic dome designs, including the Spruce Goose, Epcot Center, the Fly’s Eye Dome and more. He serves as an advisory board member for the Buckminster Fuller Institute and the Fuller Dome Home nonprofit.

Dymaxion, coined by Fuller, is a combination of the words “dynamic,” “maximum” and “tension.” Zung’s lecture will include slides and videos as he draws on his personal experiences of collaborating with Fuller. The presentation will include video of Fuller’s dymaxion car in action, along with Fuller’s concerns for spaceship earth — much of that research was completed while Fuller was at SIU.

Fuller (1895-1983) was recruited to SIU by then President Delyte Morris and Harold Cohen, a professor in the design department, and joined the university in 1959.

Zung has six patents based on Fuller’s work and will display one of Zung and Fuller’s last patents, the “Hang-It All” storage unit, at the lecture.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Zung has published two books relating to Fuller. Signed copies of “Call Me Trimtab: Navigating Spaceship Earth with R. Buckminster Fuller,” — an easily accessible guide to Fuller’s inventions and ideas — and “Anthology for a New Millenium,” whose second edition was published by SIU Press, will be available in limited supply. Donations for the books will benefit the work of the Fuller Dome Home nonprofit.

In 2021, SIU's Morris Library’s Special Collections Research Center received Fuller’s personal library of more than 3,000 volumes as part of a donation of artifacts and furniture to the R. Buckminster Fuller Dome Not-For-Profit. The organization acquired Fuller’s personal library and original house furnishings from his estate, with the goal of reinstalling the furnishings and library as it was in the 1960s to the dome home at 407 S. Forest St. in Carbondale, where Fuller and his wife, Anne, lived, from 1960 to 1971.