Since the end of World War II, the U.S. government has embraced the rhetoric of the peaceful use of the atom. Following the government’s lead, architect-designer-philosopher Richard Buckminster Fuller espoused similar ideas. Like U.S. President Lyndon Johnson and other “atoms for peace” enthusiasts, Fuller thought that the revolution then occurring in architecture was an outgrowth of the peaceful atom. And, like Johnson, Fuller believed that technology based on the atom did not just favor Americans but could be applied for the benefit of all humanity. Fuller thought atomic technology could help extend humankind’s knowledge base and thus be applied to develop better architecture. This article explains how Fuller, like politicians of the time, believed that the potential for fearful products of destruction—of war and its weaponry—could be applied for peacetime applications, particularly when designing his geodesic dome, including his Expo ’67 pavilion.

This content is only available as a PDF.