Arch + Eng, Art, Design, Education, Sci + Tech, Social Impact

Re-cap of the 2017 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Ceremony and Symposium

Trupti Jain and Biplabketan Paul, Co-Founders of the Sustainable Green Initiative Forum with their daughter and colleagues after winning the 2017 grand prize. Photo: Phoebe Sudrow

NEW YORK CITY (November 17, 2017) – The 2017 conferring ceremony and a symposium to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge (BFC) was a very inspiring and successful capstone to the first phase of this renowned program. The new design research lab a/d/o hosted the events at their beautiful venue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

On the evening of Friday, November 10th, Trupti Jain and Biplabketan Paul, Co-Founders of the Sustainable Green Initiative Forum, received the 2017 grand prize of $100,000 and the OmniOculi sculpture for their work with Bhungroo. Two runners-up were each honored with an OmniOculi sculpture. Matthew Barron, program officer for the Heinz Family Fund and first BFC program manager, presented the sculpture to Lucilla and Jonathan Marvel, who represented Martín Peña Community Land Trust as members of the board. Alexander Eaton, CEO of Sistema Biobolsa, also accepted a runner-up prize.

LEFT: Rajeev Goyal of KTK-BELT Studio; Chris Hasenkopf and Joe Flasher of OpenAQ; Jon Khoo, Miriam Turner
and Nick Hill of Net-Works are presented as Finalists in the 2017 BFC.
Photo: Phoebe Sudrow

Author and sustainability education expert Andres Edwards – also a long-time BFC review team member – honored the three 2017 finalists: KTK-BELT’s Vertical University Project (represented by Co-Founder Rajeev Goyal), Net-Works (represented by Nick Hill and Miriam Turner of the Zoological Society of London and Jon Khoo of Interface), and OpenAQ (represented by Co-Founders Chris Hapenkopf and Joe Flasher). The finalists, runners-up, and winners all made brief remarks to the audience about their work. The evening included the release of the 2017 Fuller Challenge video by Whirlwind Creative.

LEFT: Moderator Renee Lertzman, Marc Fruitema, Gavin McINtyre, Bren Smith, Jody Holmes, Tre Cates, Trupti Jain, Biplabketan Paul, and Elizabeth Thompson.
Photo: Phoebe Sudrow

Guests packed the venue and represented the diversity of the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s (BFI) broad network of supporters: architects, designers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, educators, artists, scientists, and more. The audience enjoyed the opportunity to connect over drinks and food, and were inspired by an hour-long program of remarks from: Allegra Fuller Snyder, daughter of R. Buckminster Fuller, as well as the Fuller Challenge team: Founding Director Elizabeth Thompson and Program Manager Megan Ahearn. The evening concluded with remarks from BFI’s new leadership team, led by Executive Director Amanda Ravenhill, sharing their vision for the Institute’s future.

LEFT: Moderator Susan Szenasy of Metropolis Magazine with Gavin McIntyre, Eden Bruckman, Ryan Chin and Dr. John Todd.
Photo: Phoebe Sudrow

On Saturday, November 11th, a day-long symposium took place at a/d/o, gathering representatives from all 10 winners of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge since 2007. Greg Watson of the Schumacher Center for New Economics opened the day with a keynote address. The past winners participated in panel discussions moderated by design thought leaders such as Susan Szenasy of Metropolis Magazine and Andrew Revkin of the New York Times. The symposium comprised five themed panels: “The Design Revolution”, “Aquatic Ecosystems”, “Terrestrial Ecosystems”, “Urban Systems”, and “Resilience Strategies”.

We had such a great time!” exclaimed Fuller Challenge Founding Director, Elizabeth Thompson. “We were so happy to be able to cap this ten year milestone by honoring all of our 2017 finalists, runners-up, and winners on Friday evening and gathering all ten previous winners on Saturday for a day of discussion and reflection. We are very grateful to everyone who made the journey to join us for an inspiring couple of days. And we wish BFI’s new team, led by Amanda Ravenhill, all the best as they chart a new course for the Institute!

The symposium was followed by a two-hour reception at a/d/o. Many of the past winners, advisors, jurors, finalists, and members of BFI’s network found linkages between their work. The weekend concluded with a sense of hope and inspiration.

RIGHT: Allegra Fuller Snyder surrounded by well-wishers at the symposium.
Photo: Phoebe Sudrow