The Prototype Program is a public forum for local artists, architects, educators and students to design and build original projects that creatively explore and re-contextualize the structural concepts and design principles pioneered by R. Buckminster Fuller. Projects are often built and displayed within public arenas, offering both participants and pedestrians alike a hands-on learning experience.
The program is open to the public and we invite all curious individuals to lend a hand or contribute an idea. We offer individuals that are already working within similar areas the opportunity to share and evolve their work with a wide audience.
Originally built during Park(ing) Day 2008 this space frame kite, built from wooden dowels and Tyvek envelopes, was entered into Fly NY 2009 a first annual international kite design competition sponsored by the New York City Parks Department. The kite references Alexander Graham Bell's early 20th century tetrahedral kites, and structural configuration later explored and patented by Fuller in long-span structures.
See more photos of Prototype 0 here.
Read the Metropolis Magazine article about the FlyNy event here.
Prototype 1: 2012
Prototype was invited to design a geometric-based installation for an event to celebrate the book release of Towards 2012: Perspectives on the Next Age. Prototype chose to explore an obvious structure connecting Buckminster Fuller and the Mayans - the tetrahedron or pyramid. Using a space-frame structure (Fuller's Octet Truss) - Prototype constructed a 10 frequency tetrahedron with one truncated vertex (in reference to the flat tops of the Mayan pyramids). Translucent plastic pieces were scarcely distributed amongst the hundreds of recycled cardboard components that comprised the bulk of the structure to allow the fluorescent light generated from within to illuminate outside. The installation was funded by Mangusta & LAFCO Productions.
See more photos of Prototype 1 here.
Prototype 2: Laura Dawson
New York based fashion designer Laura Dawson invited Prototype to create a geodesic-dome inspired architectural installation that would serve as both dressing/makeup room, and fashion show centerpiece for the unveiling of Dawson's spring collection during New York's 2009 Fashion Week. Through experimentation with network programming, Prototype participant Matt Howard attempted to liberate Fuller's structural lattices from their platonic solids and reinterpret the struts on dome structures as social connections, molded by forces from physical and behavioral simulations. Fabricated from machine cut triangles of corrugated plastic, the structure was assembled and installed by Prototype participants. The installation was funded by Red Bull.
See more photos from Prototype 2 here.
Watch a video from backstage
Prototype 5: Figment*
BFI joined with hundreds of organizations and individuals that helped transform NYC's Governors Island into an annual celebration of participatory art and culture where anything is possible, a weekend long event known as Figment*. Our installation re-purposed discarded plastic containers bearing the recycling number 5 (a non recyclable material under current NYC sanitation guidelines) in a closest packing arrangement to form a spherical structure.
See more photos of Prototype 5 here.
Prototype 6: Trash University
On July 19th, Prototype volunteers led a workshop at The Sculpture Center in Long Island City, New York in the exploration of DIY Tensegrity structures. Using commonly discarded materials such as old bicycle tire tubes and pvc piping, participants spent the afternoon studying various Tensegrity patterns before creating our own creation; a Tensegrity wall from octahedral modules. The event, entitled "Doing More with Mess"; was a put on in conjunction with the current exhibition, The University of Trash, a project by Michael Cataloi and Nils Norman.
See more photos from Prototype 6 here.
Prototype 7: Climbing Coordinates
As a proud participant of the 13th annual DUMBO Arts Under the Bridge Festival, Prototype created an installation that transformed one of Fuller's diagrams (The 25 Great Circles) from a static drawing into an interactive 12 foot high rock climbing wall. Climbing holds were strategically placed at vertices and mid points of the diagram in an attempt to re-interpret the network-like drawing as a mapping not just of geodesic coordinates but of human movement. Hundreds of festival visitors took part by climbing aboard the installation.
See more photos from Prototype 7 here.