Are you still living in an old-fashioned, square house? Maybe it’s time to step into the future…boldly enter the 21st century, by moving into a Dymaxion House!
On a recent trip to Detroit, I had the opportunity to take a side trip to the Henry Ford Museum. One of the best reasons to visit the museum is to take a walk through this odd-shaped aluminum prefabricated home. The Dymaxion House was a creation of R. Buckminster Fuller who is considered one of the founders of the environmental design movement, and best known for the Geodesic Dome invention.
Bucky Fuller thought the Dymaxion (Dynamic MAXimum tensION) House would be strong enough to survive a tornado, hygienic, and easy to build in airplane factories that had been idled, following the end of the war. But, only two were ever made, and only one survived – the one that’s now on display in the Henry Ford Museum.
Visitors are allowed to walk through the restored house…including a stop in the kitchen, where a very tiny sink will have to accommodate all your dishes. After all, there’s no dishwasher.
In the central core of the house, the roof is supported by a single pole, which also carries all of the house’s utilities. These features would be covered in the finished house, but they are left uncovered for the sake of the exhibit. You can also peek into the layers that make up the roof. It’s almost all aluminum. The round design was meant to improve structural strength and energy efficiency, while the roof-collected rainwater, and the central core provided ventilation (the windows didn’t open).
The Dymaxion House would have offered almost no privacy. The walls that separate the rooms don’t go all the way to the ceiling, so someone in one room would have heard everything that’s happening in the other rooms (except for the bathroom – it was made of two “stamped” copper bubbles, put together). The only “doors” separating the rooms were more like curtains that could be pulled closed.
The house did have some innovative ideas – like cabinets with rotating “O-Volving” shelves, stainless steel fireplace, optional folding stairs to the balcony, accordion doors, revolving shoe and clothes rack, and the Dymaxion bathroom.
Please “click” on the black and white Dymaxion House photo (below), to watch a fun 1946 short video on its history.