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M+M / Mark Wigley and John Harwood, "Buckminster Fuller Inc.: Architecture in the Age of Radio"

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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2016 / 5 PM


MARK WIGLEY (Professor of Architecture, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University)

JOHN HARWOOD / Respondent (Associate Professor of Architecture, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto)



We live in radio. The real architecture of our world is that of electromagnetic frequencies. We are constantly being reshaped by countless overlapping waves that pulse through our buildings and bodies. Yet we don’t really know what this means.

This intellectual biography rethinks the legacy of one of the key protagonists of the twentieth century. It shows that the obsessive, eccentric brilliance of Buckminster Fuller—as a unique amalgam of theorist, designer, and performance artist—was devoted completely to the architecture of radio. The book draws extensively on Fuller’s archive to follow his thinking from toilets to telepathy, plastics to prosthetics, nanostructures to networks, and deep data to deep space. It shows that the critical arguments and material techniques of arguably the single most exposed designer of the last century were too radical to be  grasped at the time but have become urgently relevant today. Fuller becomes a crucial reference point in trying to understand and engage our increasingly electronic world.


MARK WIGLEY is Professor and Dean Emeritus of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. The author of The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida’s Haunt (1993), White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (1995; both MIT Press), and Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire (010 Publishers, 1998), he coedited, with Catherine de Zegher, The Activist Drawing: Retracing Situationist Architectures from Constant’s New Babylon to Beyond (MIT Press, 2001). He has curated exhibitions at the MoMA in New York, the Witte de With in Rotterdam, The Drawing Center in New York, and the CCA in Montreal. He is the Co-Director with Beatriz Colomina of the Istanbul Design Biennial 2016. His latest book is Buckminster Fuller Inc.: Architecture in the Age of Radio (Lars Muller, 2015).


JOHN HARWOOD is Associate Professor of Architecture at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto.  He is a co-editor of Grey Room, a quarterly journal of architecture, art, media and politics published by MIT Press, a founding member of the architectural history collaborative Aggregate, and the author of The Interface: IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945-1976 (University of Minnesota Press, 2011).


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