The visionary designer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller’s remarkable legacy inspires new generations to create the Design Science Revolution he first called for in the 1960s. Elizabeth Thompson, executive director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), brings to life Bucky’s vision, along with contemporary BFI Challenge Award recipients. Sheila Kennedy, Professor of Architecture at MIT, and John Edel, Director of the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, whose imaginative design innovations “address humanity’s most pressing problems.”
About the speakers:
Since 2004, Elizabeth Thompson has developed BFI’s leading educational programs including its acclaimed website, high profile public lectures, exhibitions and events, and the Design Science Lab. She has played an instrumental leadership role in the creation and implementation of BFI’s flagship program, The Buckminster Fuller Challenge. Prior to joining BFI, Elizabeth was the founding director of Planetwork, served as director of John Gibson Gallery, New York, and a founding member of the award winning performance group, Cucaracha Theatre, New York.
Sheila Kennedy received her Bachelor’s Degree in history, philosophy and literature from the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. Kennedy studied architecture at the Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris and received the Masters of Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University where she won the SOM National Traveling Fellowship and was graduated with Distinction, the School’s highest academic honor. In 1990, she founded Kennedy & Violich Architecture (KVA MATx) in partnership with Juan Frano Violich. As an Associate Professor at Harvard’s GSD, Kennedy was Director of the M Arch II Program from 1991-1995 and is Professor of the Practice of Architecture at MIT.
John Edel is the Founder and Executive Director of The Plant. After purchasing the building in July 2010, he immediately began deconstruction and renovation with a vision of intentional reuse, economic development, and truly sustainable food. John’s foray into building redevelopment was at the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, a green business incubator in the Stockyards Industrial Corridor. As General Contractor, Edel took the facility from a burnt-out shell to 100% occupancy while using a mixture of waste-stream recycled materials and leading edge technology to make the building exceptionally energy efficient and pleasantly non-toxic. The renovation was assisted by a core group of volunteers and by bartering with suppliers, tenants and scrappers.
In previous careers, John taught computer graphics, designed sets for broadcast television, art directed video games and worked as a chef on private railroad cars. He has a lifelong dream of combining industrial preservation and plants in a productive, conservatory-like project.