The late R. Buckminster Fuller remains more widely recognized as
a technological innovator than as an ecological designer. It's easy
to forget that Fuller's quirky houses, geodesic domes and cars were
designed to conserve energy and natural resources. His metal Dymaxion
House, for example, used one-fifth the materials of a conventional
house and could be recycled. A new 64-minute film, Ecological
Design: Inventing the Future, traces Fuller's influence on current
design and planning. The filmmakers interviewed 26 designers and
eventually included takes with landscape architects Ian McHarg,
FASLA, Pliny Fisk, and Carol Franklin, ASLA, and Leslie Sauer, of
Andropogon Associates. In addition, James Wines, Paolo Soleri, William
McDonough and Peter Calthrope make appearances.
The film visits several projects familiar to landscape architects,
among them Village Homes in Davis, California, the Rocky Mountain
Institute in Snowmass, Colorado, and Curitiba, Brazil (see "Brazil's
Modest Miracle," June 1992).
Narrated by actress Linda Hunt, Ecological Design has been
screened at six film festivals, most recently Robert Redford's Sundance
in Utah, and was shown at May's Green Builders Conference in Austin,
Texas. The film received awards at festivals in Chicago, Washington,
D.C., Charleston, and San Francisco.
"We're trying to bring the public up to speed." says
producer Chris Zelov, who conceived of the project while reading
Fuller's book Critical Path. "We'd like to reach beyond
designers and students to planners and the political world. A lot
of ecological design is against the law right now. We hope this
will have an effect on our building codes. The film is available
in video (VHS) format. For more information, call 1-800-639-4099.
. -Michael Leccesse