Buckminster Fuller: Dymaxion Living

By Emma Forbes

Buckminster Fuller was born on July 12, 1895, in Milton Massachusettes. From a young age, he was constantly trying to solve problems. He would often make things from objects he obtained in the forest. Fuller studied at Harvard until he was expelled for a lack of interest in the school environment. He served in the Navy during World War I where he served as a radio operator and held other responsibilities. During his time in the Navy, he used his aptitude for resourcefulness to create a winch to pull rescue boats.


Fuller married Anne Hewlett. Hewlett’s father was attempting new ways to construct homes. In 1922, Buckminster Fuller’s daughter, Alexandria, died from complications involving polio. Fuller blamed the living conditions of his family at the time. This motivated Fuller and his father-in-law to go into business together and formed the Stockade Building System. The goal of this system was to create high-quality housing cheaply and efficiently.

However, in 1927 the company failed. Still dealing with the loss of his daughter and now the failed business, Buckminster Fuller entered a great state of depression. It was during this time when he had an epiphany. He saw that it was his destiny in life to use his skills to advance the ways that people live their daily lives.

Dymaxion Efficiency

According to the Buckminster Fuller Foundation, Fuller began to look at the fundamental laws of the universe. He looked critically at the way people operated in their daily lives and began striving to find out ways to do more with less. This lead him to the formation of the Dymaxion theory. Dymaxion is a word formed from dynamic maximum tension. Fuller explains that dynamic maximum tension is the “maximum gain of advantage with minimum energy input”

Still concerned with housing conditions, Fuller created the Dymaxion house. This house was in the shape of a dome to maximize airflow efficiency through the house. These houses were modular in nature and could be sent in pieces and constructed on the site of chosen construction.

Fuller also developed the Dymaxion Map. While a classic map of the world is portrayed as a globe, the Dymaxion map is in the form of an icosahedron. This modified view of the world shows that the landmasses and oceans of the world are almost all continuously connected.

Of the many other inventions of Fuller include the Dymaxion car, the Epcot Center in Disney World, and the Dymaxion Sleep schedule.

Dymaxion Sleep

Of the many different types of polyphasic sleep schedules, a few stand above the rest as appearing extreme or even radical. One of these intense sleep schedules is Dymaxion sleep. However, this schedule is not for the faint of heart! It is thought that the only individuals that can practice this sleep schedule with any type of success all share a type of genetic mutation. Like other Dymaxion inventions, it is designed to produce maximum efficiency with minimal input.

Since Fuller saw sleep as a waste of time he sought to create a better sleep schedule. Dymaxion sleep consists of four 30 minute naps throughout the day. The idea was to get the minimum amount of sleep one needed to maximally function. As a result, this sleep schedule allows the practitioner to have 22 hours of waking time in a day. Ideally used for productivity.

Fullers Legacy

Buckminster Fuller served as the second president of Mensa. While some of his visions never came to fruition, the general theory of Dynamic maximum tension is observed by people looking to live efficient lives. Many inventors looking at today’s problems of energy consumption use it as a guide to advance the future of everyday living.