'He was always a step ahead': Buckminster Fuller's lingering influence on St. Louis, the world | St. Louis Public Radio

'He was always a step ahead': Buckminster Fuller's lingering influence on St. Louis, the world

Nov 9, 2018

For decades, R. Buckminster Fuller was known around the globe for his scholarship and his vision of a future that could work for everyone aboard what he described as “spaceship earth.” By the middle of the 20th century, he saw two possible destinations on humanity’s horizon – utopia or oblivion – and his lectures and writings still resonate today.

Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) designed the 1960s-built geodesic dome at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as well as several similar structures in the St. Louis region.
Credit Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“He was always a step ahead of where the rest of us were, but very excited and eager to bring us all with him,” his 91-year-old daughter, Allegra Fuller Snyder, said Friday on St. Louis on the Air.

In town for what’s been billed as a “Bucky Weekend” celebrating the late architect’s legacy in the St. Louis region, she joined host Don Marsh for the conversation alongside Benjamin Lowder, creative director of the Fuller Dome at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Benjamin Lowder, creative director of SIUE's Fuller Dome and founder of Cherokee Street Gallery, also participated in the on-air discussion.
Credit Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Fuller Snyder described her father as a wonderful and challenging person who thought deeply about both the big picture and the seemingly small things – like the power of individual human beings.

“He felt that all of us were incredibly empowered … and that we each really had the capability of really making major changes, not only for ourselves but for everybody else,” she said. “It was really his hope and his goal.”

Lowder noted that “Bucky” Fuller’s local connections are still visible across the bi-state area, with domes such as the Fuller Dome and the Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden speaking to his impact both in terms of design and philosophy.

“I think the St. Louis region and extending across the river into Southern Illinois is the richest area in the world for built structures referencing Buckminster Fuller’s legacy,” Lowder said.

Related Event
What: Fuller Dome Gallery Opening Reception
When: 7 p.m. Friday, November 9, 2018
Where: SIUE's Fuller Dome (81 Circle Dr., Edwardsville, IL 62025)

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.