Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge

In 2013 I applied for the Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge with the help of Jamie Burkhart, Julia Fredenburg, and Patrick Weaver. BFI challenges people to invent “trim tab” solutions to global problems. Bukcy Fuller once noted that the small trim tab on an airplane’s wing, when adjusted, would cause the massive aircraft to move up or down. He was fascinated by how such a small object could catalyze such change. I felt like TetraHouse defiantly qualified as a “trim tab” solution. TetraHouse reconsiders how we interact with and “use” materials. It addressed issues of autonomy within industrial infrastructures. It finds clever ways to circumvent property ownership to the benefit of common people. It addresses new conditions in technology, materials, and fabrication processes. I think it could have an important impact if ever implemented in mass.

At the time of the challenge I was installing the second TetraHouse prototype on my roof. My team of friends were helping me produce a video that would provide a concise explanation of the project. This was perhaps the hardest part.


Jamie Burkart is a computer programmer that studies information management.¬† He invented a system called Open House Auto Insurance that would identify¬†disparate concepts that contributed to one’s selfhood, then single out the core concepts that make you You, in an ad-hoc visual network of meaning.¬† This strategy was applied to TetraHouse so we could cram a huge project into a 2 minute video.

Jamie Burkart
Here’s Jamie deliberating


TetraHouse Brooklyn Roof
The Partial assembly by moonlight
TetraHouse Assembly
Stewart Losee and Jamie Burkart assembling TetraHouse in the cover of darkness.