Architectural Gems: Dymaxion House, Michigan, U.S.

Designed in 1927, Dymaxion House in Dearborn Michigan, was decades ahead of its time. But with a designer like Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (1895 – 1983), one wouldn’t expect anything less than iconoclastic. Inspired by the automobile industry, Fuller envisioned the house as the residential equivalent of cars: mass produced, inexpensive, lightweight, and spatially efficient. At only 1,100 square feet (100 square meters), the house feels larger than it is due to the use of aluminium as the main building material and clever design. For example, “wedges” of space were given over to an open living area, kitchen, and two bedrooms and modular storage units radiate from the center, serving as partial height partitions between different rooms. A panorama of windows which circle the whole 360 degrees plan adds to the airy feel of the house.

Dymaxion House wasn’t completed until immediately after World War II. It was acquired in 1991 by the Henry T. Ford Museum after the owner died, disassembled and rebuilt and placed inside the museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Today, it is on display as a piece of history, as something that could have been, as well as an inspiration for designers wishing to take Bucky’s ideas ahead into the 21st century.

Dymaxion House as installed in the Henry T. Ford Museum.
The open living space. The view gives an accurate sense of how the windows were designed to be truly panoramic.
Inside the museum, visitors ascend a ramp to reach the interior of the dwelling that is elevated on its central mast.

Archive Photos

Buckminster Fuller with a model of Dymaxion House.

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