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Redefining "Universal"/Awards to Landscape Architects
courtesy of Landscape Architecture


The late R. Buckminster Fuller remains more widely recognized as a technological innovator than as an ecological designer. It's easy to forget that Fuller's quirky houses, geodesic domes and cars were designed to conserve energy and natural resources. His metal Dymaxion House, for example, used one-fifth the materials of a conventional house and could be recycled. A new 64-minute film, Ecological Design: Inventing the Future, traces Fuller's influence on current design and planning. The filmmakers interviewed 26 designers and eventually included takes with landscape architects Ian McHarg, FASLA, Pliny Fisk, and Carol Franklin, ASLA, and Leslie Sauer, of Andropogon Associates. In addition, James Wines, Paolo Soleri, William McDonough and Peter Calthrope make appearances.

The film visits several projects familiar to landscape architects, among them Village Homes in Davis, California, the Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, Colorado, and Curitiba, Brazil (see "Brazil's Modest Miracle," June 1992).

Narrated by actress Linda Hunt, Ecological Design has been screened at six film festivals, most recently Robert Redford's Sundance in Utah, and was shown at May's Green Builders Conference in Austin, Texas. The film received awards at festivals in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Charleston, and San Francisco.

"We're trying to bring the public up to speed." says producer Chris Zelov, who conceived of the project while reading Fuller's book Critical Path. "We'd like to reach beyond designers and students to planners and the political world. A lot of ecological design is against the law right now. We hope this will have an effect on our building codes. The film is available in video (VHS) format. For more information, call 1-800-639-4099. . -Michael Leccesse