R. Buckminster Fuller Airplane Hangar, project 1955

  • Not on view

This design for an airplane hangar uses Fuller's octet truss to form its lightweight, long-span space frame structure. Patented in 1961, the octet truss is a compound of a tetrahedron (a triangular pyramid) and an octahedron (a solid form with eight triangular faces). Fuller searched for inexpensive, high-performance materials and economical building procedures. Much of his research was in geodesic structures, in which the tetrahedron is the basic unit. These are three-way grids in which all members of the structure are mutually supportive, or synergetic. The efficiency of the overall structure allows for more slender individual members and reduced construction costs. Fuller's research into lightweight, energy-efficient space frame structures was an important reference for avant-garde architects of the 1960s in their experiments with megastructures.

Gallery label from 75 Years of Architecture at MoMA, 2007.
Wood and paint
12 1/4 x 63 1/4 x 34 3/4" (31.1 x 160.7 x 88.3 cm)
Gift of the architect
Object number
MC 28
Architecture and Design

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