Inventor and architect Buckminster Fuller developed the Dymaxion House to address some of the shortcomings in existing house building techniques.
Fuller designed various versions of the house at different times. These were all factory-built and field-assembled kits. Therefore, it was intended to be suitable for any environment and to use resources efficiently. An important design consideration was ease of transportation and assembly. As he did with most of his inventions, Fuller combined the words dynamic, maximum and tension to create the term Dymaxion.
The Dymaxion House was completed in 1930 after two years of development. In 1945 it was redesigned. Buckminster Fuller wanted to mass-produce a bathroom and a house. The first “Dymaxion” design was based on a granary design.
The final design of the Dymaxion house used a central vertical stainless steel strut on a single foundation. Structures similar to the spokes of a bicycle wheel hang down from the pillar, supporting the roof, while beams radiating outwards support the floor.
Wedge-shaped aluminum sheet fans formed the roof, ceiling and floor. Each structure was assembled at ground level and then lifted up by crane. The Dymaxion house represented the first conscious effort to construct an autonomous building in the 20th century.
A packaged toilet, a water tank and a convection-powered fan placed on the roof was a prototype proposed for use. In most modern homes, laundry, showers and toilets are the main water uses, while drinking, cooking and dishwashing consume less than 20 liters of water per day. The Dymaxion house aimed to reduce water use with a gray water system, a packaged commode and a “fogger” to replace showers. The fogger was based on efficient compressed air and water degreasers, but with much smaller water particles to make it comfortable.