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Open lecture organised by Alvar Aalto Academy. Tuesday 24.4.2012 in the Ateneum Hall, Helsinki.

In 1933, the inventor, engineer, architect and – in his own words – “amiable lunatic”, Richard Buckminster Fuller built a car that seemed fit for the Space Age to come. This was the Dymaxion, part aircraft, part racing yacht, part people carrier that was mean to have revolutionised personal road transport. It didn’t; but, the Dymaxion – and the two sister cars that followed – were a fascinating attempt to create not just a new type of car, but a whole new Dymaxion way of life. This was Fuller’s world of lightweight, industrially manufactured homes reached – ideally – by cars that flew, and cars that could even carry their homes from site to site.

Fuller’s dream of a highly technological age and featherweight buildings and machines was clearly way ahead of his time; and, yet, Fuller – an idealist to the last – made great, and exaggerated claims for his Dymaxion car willing it to push design, engineering and social boundaries.

Dymaxion. Photo: Nigel Young. Foster and Partners.

In 2008, the British architect Norman Foster, who had worked with Fuller over many years, commissioned a faithful and fully working replica of the Dymaxion car. And, it is Foster, perhaps, who has come as close as any architect to realising Fuller’s dreams.

The theme of the twice-yearly Alvar Aalto Academy lectures focuses on the key architects and designers of the twentieth century. The speakers are recognised experts who are extremely familiar with the work of the architects about whom they are lecturing.

Jonathan Glancey: Buckminster Fuller and the Improbable Lightness of Building

Tuesday, 24.4.2012 17.00

Ateneum Hall, address Kaivokatu 2, Helsinki

Free entry

Lecture is in English

Further information: Merja Vainio, tel. +358 (0)400 772 636,