Awards and Prizes

Winner of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge to Receive The " OMNIOCULI "

June 02, 2008 - 10:26:08 PM

The OmniOculi designed by artist Tom Shanon will be presented to John Todd, the winner of the first Buckminster Fuller Challenge along with a check for $100,000 on June 23rd, 2008 at the Center for Architecture, New York City.

Artist’s Statement:

“Bucky loved to enlighten. His talks and writings overflow with original connections between math and nature. Nature as the model for his conceptions. He proposed a comprehensive view of the universe as an integrated whole. Then asked to conceive a sculpture to represent the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, I knew I wanted it to be as loaded with Fuller’s thinking as possible. The sculpture formed rapidly in my mind. Shape, spherical, because Bucky elucidated spheres perhaps more than anyone; geodesic patterning, because that’s the special geometry with which he meant to emulate nature’s behavior.

Bucky liked to remind us that on all scales there are always an inside and an outside co-existing. It came to me to highly perforate the surface of the sphere so one could see the inside at the same time as the outside. The perforations would be located at the vertices of a high order geodesic dome. The vertices would be open viewports like the fly’s eye domes. I then thought it would be revealing if select vertex holes could be of particular sizes to represent the vertices of as many of the regular polyhedrons as possible, such as the five platonics, the archimedians and in particular the sixty carbon atoms of the buckminsterfullerene molecule, all neatly circumscribed and superimposed on the same geodesic pattern.

Bucky made original discoveries about the transformability of one elemental shape into another as manifest in his jitterbug’ model. I asked Joe Clinton, who is a master of geometry in general and geodesics in particular, if he could design such a complex pattern. What seemed like only a day later he had built a virtual prototype on his computer. Rapidly the pattern evolved into a beautiful flowing, slightly pinwheeling geodesic array comprised of sixteen graduated hole sizes marking the many circumscribed polyhedrons. Joe’s twist to the geodesic pattern makes allusions to patterns of nature from micro radiolaria through flowers to spiral galaxies.

This sculpture is also an interactive optical instrument. The concave inside is mirror-polished so it produces in its center a hovering aerial real image while it infinitely re-reflects the incoming light. The outside surface is also mirror reflective so it is omni-directionally visually alive with its changing surroundings. To hold the geodesic sphere in the air I chose a mirror-polished sphere exactly one half its diameter. That means the surface area of the large sphere is exactly four times the surface of the small sphere and the volume is of the large sphere holds the volume of eight of the small spheres. Surface increases by the square, volume by the cube. This doubling relationship Bucky observed has a subtle connection to Newton’s inverse square law of gravity: halving the distance increases the attraction four times.

The geodesic sphere is held by a hidden shaft seated in ball-bearings inset in the smaller sphere. This enables the geodesic sphere to be rotated or spun. The top half of the geodesic sphere is held in place by magnets so it can be removed occasionally for dusting the internal mirror.”

Title: OmniOculi
Material: 2024 aluminum (w/magnets and ball bearings)
Dimensions: 8 inch diameter sphere above 4 inch diameter sphere
Sculpture concept and design: Tom Shannon,
Geodesic concept design: Joseph Clinton
Engineering, machining: Bluechip Engineering
Computer Rendering: Jonah Tobias,

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Agro Housing -- To Dwell is to Garden

May 31, 2008 - 01:59:59 PM

Agro HousingAgro Housing

Knafo Klimor Architects of Israel - Winners of the 2nd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Housing. China 2007

Conceptual Approach
According to a UN report, in 2010 about 50% of the Chinese population will reside in cities. This huge migration from rural regions to new urban megalopolises will create a dramatic cultural and social crisis, a loss of existing traditions and considerable unemployment. Massive urbanization will form random communities, severely deplete natural resources, exhaust urban infrastructures and transportation systems, and will increase air and soil pollution.
The concept of Agro-Housing is a new urban and social vision that will address problems of chaotic urbanization by creating a new order in the city and more specifically, in the housing environment.
Agro-Housing is a program that combines a high-rise apartment complex with a vertical greenhouse within the same building.
The idea behind Agro-Housing is to create a close to home space where families can produce their own food supply according to their abilities and choices. This will allow the citizens more independence, freedom, and additional income.  READ MORE »

Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia

May 09, 2008 - 10:31:59 PM

May 2, 2008: The Buckminster Fuller Institute is pleased to announce that “Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia”, submitted by Dr. John Todd, has been selected as the winner of the 2008 Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

Buckminster Fuller often pointed out that, “one of the most important facts about spaceship earth is that it didn’t come with an operating manual”. Dr. Todd’s pioneering work and vision represents an essential chapter of the operating manual Humans must urgently complete. His profound understanding of biological systems will revolutionize the way we think about our place on the planet and our connection to the land and its resources.  READ MORE »

Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship

March 07, 2008 - 08:49:56 AM

"The Skoll Foundation’s mission is to advance systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs. We believe that social entrepreneurs see opportunities where others see problems and crises.  READ MORE »

The Virgin Earth Challenge

February 12, 2008 - 07:21:19 PM

 APPhoto: AP

The Virgin Earth Challenge is a prize of $25m for whoever can demonstrate to the judges' satisfaction a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate.


OBJECTIVE: To encourage a viable technology which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects.

Today [ 9/2/2007], Sir Richard Branson and Al Gore announced the setting up of a new Global science and technology prize – The Virgin Earth Challenge – in the belief that history has shown that prizes of this nature encourage technological advancements for the good of mankind. The Virgin Earth Challenge will award $25 million to the individual or group who are able to demonstrate a commercially viable design which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects. This removal must have long term effects and contribute materially to the stability of the Earth’s climate.

Sir Richard also announced that he would be joined in the adjudication of the Prize by a panel of five judges - all world authorities in their respective fields: Al Gore, Sir Crispin Tickell, Tim Flannery, Jim Hansen and James Lovelock. The panel of judges will be assisted in their deliberations by The Climate Group and Special Advisor to The Virgin Earth Prize Judges, Steve Howard (see Editors notes for biographies).  READ MORE »

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July 17, 2007 - 09:50:52 PM


"If success or failure of the planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do ... How would I be? What would I do?" — R. Buckminster Fuller

JULY 12th, 2007, NEW YORK CITY — On the occasion of the 112th birthday of one of the 20th century's most prescient futurists and global thinkers, The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) announces the launch of the first annual BUCKMINSTER FULLER CHALLENGE.

Established to catalyze the vanguard of a global design revolution, the Challenge will award a single $100,000 prize annually to support the development and implementation of a solution with significant potential to solve the world's most pressing problems in the shortest possible time while enhancing the Earth's ecological integrity.  READ MORE »