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Dymaxion: could homes be as affordable & precise as appliances?

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Supported by tension cables around a central mast, the Dymaxion House was a light-weight, prefab home designed to be flat-packed and shipped worldwide in a metal tube. Drawn up by Buckminster Fuller in the 1920s, he finally built the prototype in 1945 working with Beech Aircraft to take advantage of materials like aluminum and labor primed for WWII production. Fuller coined the "Dymaxion" term by combining “dy” (dynamic), “max” (maximum), and “ion”(tension) and created both a home and car around the concept. Built of light-weight materials- aluminum and plexiglass-, the home weighed only 3000 pounds, but could withstand winds of 120 miles per hour and was earthquake and stormproof. It required no maintenance and could be heated and cooled by natural ventilation (a rotating vent on the roof circulated air through the home every 6 minutes). Fuller patented the “Dymaxion Bathroom” - a shower that required only one cup of hot water, and a toilet that consumed no water at all. O-Volving Shelves required no bending; rotating closets brought the clothes to you. The floorplan and room sizes could be adjusted for parties. The dismountable home was priced at $6,500 which was not much more than the median home price of $5,000 (50% of which came only with an outhouse). It was never mass produced, but the ideas behind it remain cutting-edge even today. Watch the walkthrough by NIcolás Boullosa: https://faircompanies.com/author/nicolas-boullosa/ https://faircompanies.com/videos/dymaxion-could-homes-be-as-affordable-precise-as-appliances/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dymaxion_house
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Julie Enslow (2 months ago)
People are talking about the shape as being the most important factor. But that's not what Bucky was about. He started with the structure. So you are comparing here a standard single span bridge, made of an arch of stone (a Roman structural design) with a suspension bridge of two towers where the cables support more cables that go from the road deck to the suspension. It really is not the same. But yes, they are both bridges. This is not a yurt. A yurt is pretty awesome. This does so very much more, is structurally different, handles all the same issues, but differently. And built today with current technology, insulation, double or triple glazing, its own internal means of gathering and storing water - this would be a great suburban neighborhood house - or an off grid home in Florida or Alaska. He was about a century ahead of his time. Today he would still be considered crazy - but I do believe that today there are visionary people who would have given him funding to show what he could do with his ideas. Learn a little more about the man. When banks turned him down - he used cheap materials to demonstrate what could be done - trying to get the banks to pay attention. They were speaking to people who were not able to listen - for whatever reason. He got college students to intern with him, and they would together use desert sand to create structures, the materials they used were all but free, the labor they did with their own hands. He fathered a generation of architects - and his ideas are still in use and growing.
sonoftakeshi san (1 month ago)
Aesthetics are one thing but he was primarily concerned with architects and their lack of knowledge as to the weight of building, versus its strength. Sure you could build a building but how efficient with materials and cost will it be. This was his primary concern when he invented the Geodesic Dome. Check out the BBC DOCUMENTARY. I also tool away from it that two lines cant pass through each other in real life only on graphs in purr science.
Rebecca Adams (2 months ago)
Da Dude - what? I went through the comments, again, to see what you said that I would have referenced as ‘trollish’ behavior. I was prepared to call you on it because I don’t make a habit out of calling people out so if I did, I would have pointed to the comment and pointed out what was objectionable. Not only did I not find anything, I don’t see where you said anything prior to my comment. If you scroll up, you will note that 20alphabet commented several times, each time provocatively and consistently childish. Trollish. The comment that I referenced was another saying ‘yeah, what he said so shut up’ (paraphrasing). I read that comment and felt it deserved to be lumped with 20alphabet. If you made a comment like that, I don’t see it. If you did make that comment, I did read it and you earned the label. But frankly, I no longer see that post at all so I am guessing that someone edited it out. If that was you, why delete it and then call me on it. Maybe it wasn’t you. Now lots of people have several different logins on YouTube and other sites. If you are 20alphabet under a different name in this comment, I stand by my statement and will add that a little maturity is in order. I suspect, after all this, that you are not he, you were not aware of the many comments he had made and that i might have been talking to/aiming at someone else. Please correct me if I am wrong because I would love to understand how the comment in question could be anything other than trollish. We are never to old to learn something new and I look for anything new to learn. Thanks
Da Dude (2 months ago)
@Pungent Brap gotta agree with you. this design is actually trash and has no true superiority in function to any design feature that actually was built into more than 1 single structure.
Da Dude (2 months ago)
@Rebecca Adams read my comments before calling me a troll...
AHighlanderAndA Hook (1 hour ago)
Aw tour hubby is a foreigner thats cool. Love the accent. They are talking about housing problem back then. goes to show its part of Government dynamics to keep people struggling. Never heard of this building. Round is actually better for the soul its natural good vibration. In Atlantis their homes were dome shaped as was the covering over Alantis. I like domes we have a beautiful circular tree house here at the 🏰 castle five mins walk away. Thats what i want to build a circular treehouse. If thats aluminium its toxic and leeching vaping out. Not best material for keeping an even temperature metal.
Heugh Jassman (2 days ago)
There are already homes that are made that are affordable. The problem lies with the seller. When they're jacking the prices up 200%, it limits the market and creates a market where people think that its okay to gouge everyone all the time. So what once was touted as an affordable tiny home, comes to a final price of an actual size house. Shape, innovation, size ... none of this is the actual problem. The problem is the people and the greed which makes them create these markets in the first place. After its all said and done, the only person these are actually affordable for are the people making them. Which unfortunately, not a lot of people know how to do or have the ability. Which in turn either forces them to buy incredibly overpriced living arrangements or going without which should not be the answer.
jzt999 (2 days ago)
Anyone else see the Jetsons?
Sidilicious (16 days ago)
I wonder if it could withstand tornados well? Seems like it might.
stevenpayne81 (21 days ago)
Great video. Dymaxion, I learnt a new word. Also looks like all the problems of today were solved yesterday? Rain and condensation collection? I suppose there's no profit in that....
stevenpayne81 (21 days ago)
The Bankers did not feel confident enough with the design to push the idea forward... WOW. Is that the same bankers that we are now bailing out? ❤️❤️🇬🇧🇬🇧
Philip Schwanke (28 days ago)
Really interesting. Thank you so much for the video!
safffff1000 (1 month ago)
What was it like at constant below zero temps or +100's?
Richard McKrell (1 month ago)
appliances is a bad analogy
K K (1 month ago)
Thin metal walls means no sound insulation, no weather/temperature variation insulation, poor use of energy due to lack of insulation, noisy due to lack of insulation and thin metal walls. Note that the display structure is displayed inside another building. If it really was functional it would have sold when it was introduced to the public many decades ago.
Jan Woodward (1 month ago)
I live in a geodesic dome which we built in 1980 after trying several smaller geo shapes and then meeting and talking with Mr. Fuller in 1975. It is an amazing structure; temperate, vents well , is comfortable, quiet and only requires a minimum of skill at furniture arranging. I love my dome! Would be happy to show and talk about anytime.
Faith Nelson (1 month ago)
makes more sense than houses with sharp angles........part of the reason these never made it off the ground, was the plumbers union hated them. the reason? no pipes to break. and i don't know if she mentioned it, but boeing made these for bucky, if i recall right.
General Malaise (1 month ago)
I Am Maximus (1 month ago)
Maybe used as structures to colonize the moon & mars mission ✌️👩🏽‍🚀👨🏻‍🚀👍🏽
Row Deo (1 month ago)
in my opinion, a place to avoid period
boo boo (1 month ago)
This house would be earthquake resistant and perfect for the western edge of America
Jacob Ahn (2 months ago)
Humans hold themselves back from a better world because of illogical attchments to aesthetics. Mr. Fuller was a human willing to throw it all away to move humans forward. His idea of true beauty begins when you stop considering beauty at all and just focus on making the world better with utility. No modern architect, from Le Corbusier to Zaha Hadid, has ever worked towards this.
HappyandAtheist (2 months ago)
just build then out of Brick. I am sitting in a 200 year old house built of brick that will easily last another 200 and I am not alone the whole street is the same.
Kitcat_007 (2 months ago)
There are many ideas, many solutions, but ANY "new," AFFORDABLE solution or creation is ALWAYS POISON BY INSATIABLE GREED. The manufactured housing (mobile homes) were considered the answer to afforability, but the wicked real estate agents, home builders and special interest groups keep AFFORDABLE mobile home market to MINIMUM CONSUMER ACCESSIBILITY by restricting zoning permits. Especially within suburban and urban areas. No matter how nicely or no matter how new a mobile home is, most cities do not allow them to set up unless they are in rural to semi rural areas. They are more acceptable in southern states and some mid-western states.
Damion (2 months ago)
Affordable homes? HA! No government would allow that! ...well maybe detroit... Lol 😂
Sean Jones (2 months ago)
Looks similar to lost in space spaceship. I'd live in it. Imagine if they used this method way back when. The ozone would not have been as damaged, facts. BMORE MIKE J
Bruce Wayne (2 months ago)
add a hyper drive and you got a space ship start
Jeff DeWitt (2 months ago)
This is one of those things I've known about since forever but didn't really know much about. Thanks so much for the tour of this fascinating house. While it's ingenious I can see why they didn't catch on. I can't imagine it's all that well insulated, and the fact that the house can move a bit may make it better in a hurricane, that's also going to complicate the utility connections. Personally if I'm going to build a really unusual house I'd rather base it on a Hobbit house. A Bag End scaled up for full sized people (with some modern technology of course), would be a great place to live.
That Guy - Art (2 months ago)
So if this is such a great idea then why has no one used it for anything more than a talking point? I went to a Fuller lecture many years ago and I asked him that very question. He certainly had enough time to build many, many Dymaxion structures. In fact he built a model or demonstration home and nothing else. Not even a garage or outhouse was patched together. When I asked him about his failure to sell his idea he turned off both his hearing aides. The only other thing I remember about him was his failure that a lecture has a beginning, a middle and an end. He would talk and talk and talk without end. I saw him at a graduation ceremony where he got an honorary degree. When he began to talk he rattled on and on and they had to have someone walk up to him, grab him and shake him to get him to stop. Instead of using someone else's ideas why not develop your own.
Mr Danforth 374 (2 months ago)
Creators create inventors invent, somebody else builds the things.
D Gunny (2 months ago)
There will never be such a thing as affordable housing . Because there's no profit in it for the greedy
O.o LOL (1 month ago)
... Then build your own house. Land is cheap on the out sides of Cities. "Things are so expensive! People back in the day had it so much easier!" Yeah, because 75% of the time they built their own house and fixed their own car.
Theodore Vegh (2 months ago)
$6,500 for 1017 sq ft in 1920's? - Theodore Alexander Vegh, B.S.
Mr Danforth 374 (2 months ago)
This is the 1947 model Dymaxion house. The first model of the 20s was more angular https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcB9JPlgaoM
Donald Xavier (2 months ago)
I would buy one.
R S (2 months ago)
I’d take one up in the mountains
R S (2 months ago)
So there has always been a housing shortage?
JeffFrmJoisey (2 months ago)
Very interesting!! How about a video on another attempt at mass production post WWII housing, The Lustron House!
DownwardsRising (2 months ago)
This looks like a good base design for a mars colony dwelling unit; small, portable, and light, but space efficient and sturdy.
WINDSURFLIFE (2 months ago)
I looking to buy a dymaxion car
Carol MC (2 months ago)
Reminds me of what Kanye west is making
Walter Bakos (2 months ago)
It’s the same thing as a moterhome
Cam Alft (2 months ago)
can only use that home in hot weather climate areas....
Timothy Archer (2 months ago)
Kirsten, thank you for taking the time to showcase the Dymaxion house! I heard of the Dymaxion many years ago, but had never really seen any images of it. I found it hard to imagine it as providing much in the way of an inviting living environment, but it looks to be surprisingly attractive and comfortable inside. I think, like many of Fuller's ideas, the Dymaxion was so far ahead of it's time, that the buying public was not ready for it. Fuller must have been quite a remarkable individual, to have had such vision, as to reach so far into the future. Thanks for another great episode!
Slam Free Poetry (2 months ago)
Indoor gutter system? Lol. Mold problem!!!! Like, but needs new updates.
vernon jackson (2 months ago)
Could Have/Should Have Happened :-(
Matt Portnoy (2 months ago)
No. Two reasons. One, valuation based property taxes—government will always protect its income stream. Two, the more people pay for something, the more they value it. If a home is as affordable as an appliance, people will quickly abandon and build new rather than maintain it over time. Like all ‘progressive’ ideas, it sounds great on the surface but it’s disastrous and idiotic in real life. Just like ObamaCare.
theresa42213 (2 months ago)
Wow! The designer seems like a pretty smart dude! l'd have to modernize the floors, and furniture of course, AND it would depend on the $ of the house. lf it were 6000.00 l'd be game!
Joe Williston (2 months ago)
How do you heat it? It looks like it would be impossible to keep warm.
Eric Severn (2 months ago)
Henry Ford did not invent the assembly line. He invented the MOVING assembly line.
Karen Mann (2 months ago)
So the Patton was supressed! Money has its evil, many times deadly, control. There certainly is a market. What the cost be?
RV Gear (2 months ago)
It's called a Ford Model "T". Not the Ford "T".
Timothy Mckee (2 months ago)
So it's a metal Yurt.
Spyrit2011 (2 months ago)
Jacques Fresco was inspired by Buckminster Fuller
Da Dude (2 months ago)
there are issues with the first design though. you would need to convert all contemporary appliances and furniture to follow the same rules as this design, otherwise you lose the functionality of all walls towards the outside as possible area for furniture. there is no furniture to put there, without having a wide gap in the middle. and then the dimensions would need to become universal, as the size changes all angles. and of course you have the issue of loss of livable area when connecting several of these together. it basically isn't possible. so it could only work as simple traditional houses. there's a reason why this shape didn't kick off, other than in migratory cultures. the ideal universal house design has straight walls on each side. with right angles. it could work for an initial Mars colony, due to how well it stands against extreme winds. right angles are the weak points of structures. not a real issue on most of our own planet though. it also distributes fluids raining down on the roof equally (not an issue on Mars), but this can be easily solved with drainage pipes... and you also usually don't want water to run on you face when leaving the house, so drainage pipes are used even on circular structures. it could be useful if colonizing a high density planet with large quantities of evaporating liquids though... but we haven't even started with the colonization of a first extra-terrestrial planet... terraforming and colonizing of Jupiters moons can wait.
Sky Watcher (2 months ago)
The bankers had other plans for society.
Sky Watcher (2 months ago)
Fantastic tour guide!
Richey Rich (2 months ago)
Bookiefuller sounds like an amazing structural engineer!
james pong (2 months ago)
This is a collosal bad idea
Jess Arellanes (2 months ago)
robdbzgt07 (2 months ago)
these would be great in a hurricane , but nobody likes round houses.
duane navarre (2 months ago)
In Taos Pueblo, the homes there are still inhabited. They are made of Adobe as are their chimneys, they do not burn. In theory solar thermal could cook the bricks, mix in a little concrete to make super adobe, and some other additives even make them waterproof. If you need better asthetics a little stucco and it looks like a modern building. 3 foot thick walls and you don't need air conditioning or heating. All of this possible with what is laying around. Oh yeah, and termites don't like to eat cedar.
SegoMan (2 months ago)
1:49 if they call the Air-stream trailer the "Tinfoil Twinkie" then this has to be a "Tinfoil Doughnut"
Delphinium Flower (2 months ago)
The current trend is toward banning household rainwater collection -- not encouraging it.
Delphinium Flower (2 months ago)
So how well did the Dimaxion house hold up in a Kansas tornado? Or a blizzard? Or a heat wave? Or a dust storm? "No Dymaxion house built according to Fuller's intentions was ever constructed and lived in." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dymaxion_house
Marina Capri (2 months ago)
So how much would the house cost to build today?
Mr Danforth 374 (2 months ago)
In 1947 it cost $6500 or the price of a luxury car like Cadillac, Packard or Imperial. Figure $100,000 - $125,000 today but with modern features like central air, solar panels, and modern materials like carbon fiber, plastics, insulation etc.
D. Mills (2 months ago)
I own a 1957 Spartan travel trailer, built by Spartan Aircraft Co. It incorporates much of the same principles and looks like this but in tube shape. Reinforces my decision to capture a piece of classic build and travel history.
Devin du Plessis (2 months ago)
The museum lady needs to present more naturally 😂
Devin du Plessis (2 months ago)
As far as I know Ford didn’t invent the assembly line, he just applied it to car production.
This Is Google (2 months ago)
Which is what really matters. Nobody said that Leonardo da Vinci invented jack shit, because what he made was dumb as fuck. Like his dumb as fuck helicopter
Lil Vegan (2 months ago)
I saw the thumbnail and was like, I've been in one of these!! And then realized I was in the same one because you're at the Henry Ford Museum! 😂 This home always inspired me as a young girl
Monday Mundy (2 months ago)
Sadly the one part of this that would be illegal in many city's and t ou wns today is the collection of rain water. Places in AZ like pine and strawberry. North of payson are very strict about it. Absolutely no collection of rain water. They also limit how much water you can use. Which is kind of a nobrainer. But the rain water would help in that department and maybe...if enough people were set up to do that it would reduce flooding during our monsoons. You cant have your bathtub, shower or kitchen sink drain into your yard or a grey holding tank in most areas either.
Vagelis 4VP (2 months ago)
I dont know if have realized... but you live in a fascist state.
Nite Knight (2 months ago)
That house makes too much sense today.Possibly our future?
D.E 303- A new, low cost, home buildable, solar electric concentrator. (2 months ago)
ufo house
anomalyjustin (2 months ago)
The problem of "affordable housing" really isn't a problem of affordability of materials and methods, but more a problem of affordable labor. Unions really destroyed affordability in the construction industry. Most people could afford to construct a nice home for themselves if they had some basic skills themselves or the access to affordable labor, and didn't have unreasonable expectations as to size and location.
Jarlborg1984 (2 months ago)
Check out Deltec Homes. Similar, but better idea that doesn't look like a trash can.
switch it (2 months ago)
I want one
Tanya Delaney (2 months ago)
This is a great solution for the homelessness crisis. It's also more ecologically sound because most of it can be recycled instead of filling landfills!
zane sutherland (2 months ago)
That is so cool! I wish someone would make these again, especially if they could be done cheaper than site built homes, and solve some of the housing shortages. I'm curious how well the air circulation and temperature control works.
Matt Graham (2 months ago)
Would probably work well in very specific climate zones. I think it would work better than most houses of it's era in the summer. A winter night in a lot of areas would probably be brutal.
Noel Adams (2 months ago)
The day I spent in the Henry Ford museum was one of the best days ever. The most captivating, fascinating...the first thing we saw was the Lincoln that JFK was shot in. It stopped us. We just stood there slowly moving around the car, pondering what went on in it. We were moved. And that was the beginning. It was that level of wow throughout the entire, Enormous, place. Hands down the best museum I have ever been through. So very worth it. I recommend going.
Highlyskeptical (2 months ago)
Quonset huts > Dymaxion in WW2 and after. Easier to scale up.
Du Fung (2 months ago)
Can't be elevated the same, or suspend load with such little material when suspended. Essentially you could build multiple floors in a large enough Quonset but there is many advantages, I mean this could change height on the central pillar, even be in the ocean sand each low tide and such.
eitoobmiz (2 months ago)
i don't see sufficient insulation
rob379 (2 months ago)
I like the glass toilet door. Adds intimacy.
Heath Barry (2 months ago)
It looks newer, I think they did that because people may have or could have used it. Unfortunately, It has a lock on the door. Been there years ago but I don't remember the bathroom.
MATTHEW BARRACK (2 months ago)
Jetsons the cartoon same houses
Valyn McNeil (2 months ago)
Very nice - tiny house. I have seen some house boats with this design and they are efficient.
Andrew Giandalia (2 months ago)
Tartarian Design Is The Best Way To Go. The BEST Energy Production Ever. Now Called Phoenicians/Roman Greco Design
Cement craft ideas TV (2 months ago)
a museum?
Holly Carter (2 months ago)
I love it!! Getting The Jetsons home vibe.
sp9rks (2 months ago)
What an incredible concept. I want one and I want it NOW ! :)
Paul Adams (2 months ago)
KMF (2 months ago)
I would have liked to have seen more of a tour of the house and less talking
KMF (2 months ago)
Why isn't anyone building these houses today?
Nicolás Boullosa (2 months ago)
A lot of reasons, some of them addressed on the video (difficult to finance non-conventional stuff, weight of convention, etc.). Some things wouldn't make much sense today, and economies of scale are being redefined by on-demand CNC techniques. The most valuable part of it is the attitude and boldness of the idea/concept: to create an affordable, durable, easy to maintain, moveable house that behaves with the precision of an appliance. The concept didn't address urbanism, use of land, which is part of the equation.
Marcus Conn (2 months ago)
Where is the "Anti-Grave" engine?
Eric Von Zipper (2 months ago)
There is not to much that is affordable these days!
ElementL116 (2 months ago)
Know that house well...it always stands alone when we visit the museum.
Lala_ Land (2 months ago)
Im from Michigan and I've been to the Henry Ford Museum. Its one of the most interesting ones I've been to. That house is so awesome in person.
Autumn Rose (2 months ago)
Takes high winds well
triumphmanful (2 months ago)
it is an aluminum YURT !
Mantikal (2 months ago)
It's the "mass-produced" angle that also creates a problem - it doesn't feed the ego. Mass-produced ....as in they all look "the same." Americans want uniqueness / variety. They like to contrast and compare - which means that they're in competition with each other.
Inkdraft (2 months ago)
Just think, if you lived on one of these homes you wouldn't ever have to wear your tin foil hat. Good protection from an EMP too. Just like a Faraday cage. LOL. Actually it's pretty cool.
Tony Rust (2 months ago)
an metal yurt
perfecto rodriguez (2 months ago)
If I have to hear one more time that it looks like an Air Stream I'm going to scream. Amazing grasp of the obvious!
nacho jimenez (2 months ago)
Did is suck when it rained? Be really loud, I imagine, like a double-wide. Cool design.
Wesley Robbins (2 months ago)
Love it want to build round as well
PlasmaBurns (2 months ago)
Ive learned that homes are irrelevant as long as its impossible to own land.
Nicolás Boullosa (2 months ago)
And, with your thoughts, it's necessary to go back to the beginning of modernity: the so-called "individual rights" within classical liberal societies from Enlightenment tried to protect the right to own land: a title on land (and not on customary privileges, such as coming from a respectable family) allowed to borrow against it. Welcome to the beginning of modernity. For housing to change, we need to think about concepts such as "owning" vs. "renting". It shouldn't be dual. There could be different types of land use regarding housing, the same way there are ways to own trees (and their yield) and not land when we talk about farmland. Houses could work as vehicles, and have "grants" to use land for some time. RV parks are not the solution, because they implemented these workarounds poorly (and for the "poor"). So it's land, but not your type of land.
james sullivan (2 months ago)
Perfect example of over engineering. a simple 2x4 house situated correctly is better.
Stuart Grant (2 months ago)
Thank you for posting this! I have been a fan of R. Buckminster Fuller for many years (since hearing him speak in the 70's). Really interesting to see the construction details of the Dymaxion House. The Henry Ford Museum is now on my list of places to visit!
Max Powers (2 months ago)
It's a Navajo Hogan with modern amenities.