Looking back, Looking ahead

About the MA Program

Perhaps I’m just getting old, but I’m shocked at how few passionate and eager young people working in the worlds of design and sustainability are familiar with R. Buckminster Fuller [July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983]. This architect, philosopher, futurist, designer, systems theorist, author, and inventor defined, refined, or seemingly divined much of foundations of what we now call sustainable design.

Geodesic dome — Buckminster Fuller. Biomimicry — Bucky Fuller. Design science — Bucky Fuller. Synergy and tensegrity and ephemeralization (doing “more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing”) — Bucky and Bucky and Bucky.

In this compelling, short (<5 min) video, Elizabeth Thompson, the Executive Director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, explains Bucky’s everlasting impact on design, science, and technology.

If you haven’t heard his wisdom directly (even if you have been touched by it), I welcome you to reflect on a few of his many quotes — words that can guide you as a person as well as a sustainable designer.

Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.

Integrity is the essence of everything successful.

When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.

Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us.
We are not the only experiment.

Don’t fight forces, use them.

In order to change an existing paradigm
you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model.
You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.

We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.


If you want to learn how you might become an architect of a beautiful and sustainable future, please explore MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design program — and celebrate Bucky’s birthday July 12th!

[Image courtesy of Stefanie Koehler, MA in Sustainable Design 2013]


Denise DeLuca / Director

Denise DeLuca is director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program and co-founder of BCI: Biomimicry Creative for Innovation, a network of creative professional change agents driving ecological thinking for radical transformation. Denise is author of the book Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation, which was illustrated by MASD alum Stephanie Koehler.  She also teaches with the Amani Institute. Denise’s previous roles include Education Director for the International Living Future Institute, a consultant for Swedish Biomimetics 3000, and Outreach Director for The Biomimicry Institute.  Denise is a licensed civil engineer (PE) and holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with a focus on modeling landscape-scale surface and ground water interactions. Denise is based in Montana.

contact:  [email protected]
Twitter: @MCADSustainDsgn