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Lecture Series: Spaceship EARTH: Three 20th Century Minds Who Inspire 21st Century Visions

Fuller, Soleri, and Turrell highlight a lecture series at the Municipal Art Society's Urban Center.

by ArchNewsNow
March 29, 2002

In April, the Municipal Art Society's Urban Center Books in New York City will present a three-part lecture series presenting three of the 20th century's most celebrated minds in architecture, art, and design.  The series, a continuation of Urban Center Books 21st anniversary celebration, is titled "spaceship EARTH,” a term coined by architect, engineer, and philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller "to convey a sense of a finite whole system planet, in which the lives of all human beings (or passengers) are interrelated.” The idea is to encourage thinking of EARTH as a single system with common interest in successful survival.


"spaceship EARTH" series:



Tuesday, April 2 at 6:30 PM


Speaker: Shoji Sadao, Chairman of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation Inc., USA, and partner Fuller, Sadao and Zung Architects discusses Fuller’s the works.

Introduction by Chuck Hoberman, Inventor.


An inventor, engineer, scientist, philosopher, and poet, R. Buckminster Fuller clearly introduced more to 21st century design than many of the great 20th century pioneers of Modern architecture.  His theories and inventions — Synergetics, Dymaxion, and his geodesic domes respond to energy-efficient and ecological design.  Fuller may be best known for his "Dome Over Manhattan Island" project, the Dymaxion car, the Dymaxion II (the restored Wichita House now housed in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.), and the domed USA pavilion for EXPO '67 in Montreal, Canada.


Where: The Urban Center

457 Madison Avenue at 51st Street

Admission: MAS members $7.00; others $10.00


PAOLO SOLERI, architect, artist, craftsman, and philosopher

Friday, April 12 at 6:30 PM


Introduction by Alistair Gordon, Architectural Critic


Paolo Soleri is among the most important figures in modern architecture. His philosophical concept "Arcology" — cities that embody the fusion of architecture and ecology — is best represented in his experimental community in the high desert of Arizona called Arcosanti. It began in 1970, and still under construction. When complete, Arcosanti will house 7,000 people and demonstrate alternative improvements to urban conditions and sustainability, and lessen our destructive impact on the earth.


Where: Lighthouse International

111 East 59th Street

Admission: MAS members $10.00; others $15.00



Monday, April 22 at 6:30 PM


Introduction by Michael Govan, Director, Dia Center for the Arts


James Turrell does not produce light for the purpose of illumination, but creates conditions in which light can behave free of that role.  His inventions are calculated to make conscious of the essence of light.  He deals with light as we deal with material objects, or to be more precise, he gives form to light so as to substantiate it.  Currently, Turrell is working on a colossal earth project called Roden Crater, a dead volcano in Arizona.  The first phase of this enormous earthwork opened in spring 2001.


Where: Fashion Institute of Technology's Haft Auditorium

Seventh Avenue at 27th Street

Admission: MAS members, students and seniors $10.00; others $15.00


Reservations for all programs are by advance tickets only; tickets are available at Urban Center Books, 475 Madison Avenue at 51st Street, or call 212-935-3595.


The lecture series has been made possible by a generous contribution from Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, and Anonymous Hudson.


"spaceship EARTH" is a registered trademark of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, used with permission.




(click on pictures to enlarge)

Buckminster Fuller: Dome Over Manhattan Island.

Paolo Soleri: Asteromo, an artificial asteroid for a population of 70,000.

James Turrell: Roden Crater, a natural cinder volcano in Arizona being transformed into a large-scale artwork that relates, through the medium of light, to the universe of the surrounding sky, land, and culture.

© 2002