telling them stories, particularly at Halloween, such as “The Gnomes That Lived in
Domes.” He always invited students to our house, without notice. He loved “thinking”
aloud with them” Bucky lived with the Cohens until his dome home was built in April, 1960
and his wife Anne came to join him.
The Cohen’s remained friends with Bucky and Ann Fuller until their deaths.
In 1960, Doubleday published The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller with Robert W. Marks as
co-author. And in 1963, his best known
book, Operating Manual for Spaceship
Earth was published by E. P. Dutton. The
latter became the bible for a generation of
young designers, and was prescient since
only six years later we landed men on the
Fuller’s vision for Spaceship Earth began
with a handicap. As a child he could only
see clearly at a distance. He was
unencumbered with details. And that, as
Robert Frost wrote in his most famous
poem, “made all the difference”.
Buckminster Fuller was a generalist, a
visionary ahead of his time. Two recent
exhibitions of his work, the 2008
retrospective at the Whitney Museum in
New York and at the Museum of
Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2009 were
tributes to his influence.
Most all of his books are still in print, films
and videos preserve his buoyant optimism.
Excellent web sites and a growing
memorabilia industry offer Bucky T shirts and tote bags to a generation of gray hairs who remember
him, and now to young people from Virginia to Viet Nam. Yes, Viet Nam, for one of my former
students just emailed to thank me for introducing him to Bucky’s seminal work during my design
history class, especially for leading the students in “Rome Home to a Dome”, the lyrics Bucky wrote
to the tune of “Home on the Range”. Bucky is now inspiring the Green Revolution even in Hanoi.
I first met Bucky in Carbondale in the fall of 1959, just after he had been appointed
University Professor. Bucky bounded into his “talk”, a short, bald guy with glasses so
thick his eyes seemed double size. The design students were ready for him, with an 8mm
camera and all the movie film the local drugstore had in stock.
Four hours later, our film was all used up and Bucky showed no sign of stopping. But we
were all aware that we were hearing something profound. I realized that day he had
How Harold L.Cohen made all the difference - continued - By Al Gowan
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Design at Southern Illinois University