How would you like to live in a cool looking round house that’s energy efficient and easy to move?
If Buckminster Fuller had his way, that’s exactly how we all would live – in his Dymaxion House. Sadly, his ideas about affordable, environmentally efficient and portable housing were ahead of his time in the thirties and forties.
That’s right, all those soldiers coming home from World War II may have ended up in communities of these shiny houses that resemble an Airstream trailer or maybe a Jetson’s house.
Instead, squares and rectangles of wood and brick won out and houses continued to balloon in size with every passing year.
Fuller was an inventor and architect who reimagined human shelter and dreamed of how mass production could revolutionize the way people live.
With space saving moves like revolving closets, a gallery kitchen complete with built-in appliances, and an easily adaptable floor plan, it sounds pretty appealing to the modern mind. It could even withstand harsh weather.
Sadly, Fuller never found financial backing for his project. A prototype was created by Beech Aircraft Corp in 1946 and was the only one ever sold. It was purchased by a fellow named William Graham who combined this house with a traditional ranch. I’m guessing it simply wasn’t big enough for his family but he liked the idea.
Graham’s family donated the house to the Henry Ford Museum in the early nineties and it’s been on display there for going on twenty years. This is a fantastic exhibit. You do have to wait in line for a few minutes on busy days because they limit the number of people allowed inside at one time. I thank them for that.
It’s a cool thing to tour and would be an amazing place to live if you don’t have many possessions. As a hoarder of books, handbags and assorted oddities, I would need to build on a ranch home as well!
Not to mention, the kitchen is way too tiny for my brand of dish hoarding and recipe experimentation.
If you go, be sure to read the posters and displays on your way in to the house and watch the short film at the end. It tells the story beautifully.
This is just one of many unusual things you’ll find at the Henry Ford. If you go, allow a day for the museum and a day for Greenfield Village. Click here to visit their website!
I’ve also written about it a few times including my experience at the Rosa Parks bus and about the planes, trains and automobiles here.