Read here about Claude Bragdon, an American architect who influenced Buckminster Fuller.


Claude Fayette Bragdon (August 1, 1866 – 1946) was an American architect, writer, and stage designer based in Rochester, New York, up to World War I, then in New York City.

He published books on democracy, fourth dimensional geometry, mystical thought and Yoga were well known in the Eastern United States and influenced Fuller.


Bragdon's work often featured detailed, accurate perspective renditions of the platonic solids: tetrahedra, octagedra, icosahedra, and other higher-ordered forms. His focus in his work on the fourth dimension was in spatial projection, usually in order to generate sumptuary ornamentation for the built environment. The ornaments could be attached to existing structures like skin on bone. Fuller, on the contrary, sought new structural arrangements that would emerge from such geometrical constructs. Their form itself was the structure.

Bragdon's interest in the fourth dimension had spiritual overtones, and he often spoke in metaphors comparing our inability to sense more than three dimensions with notions of higher yet inaccessible states of consciousness.

hall of octa dodeca frozen 1932.jpg

Platonic Solids and Sinbad, Frozen Fountain 1932.PNG

Regular Polyhedroids, Frozen 1932.PNG

Evidence of Influence on Fuller

Fuller read Bragdon's 1918 book, "Architecture and Democracy," in 1927 as indicated in the list references he wrote in 1928. In Bragdon Fuller found expression of many of aspects of his vision for industrially produced, efficient housing. Here are a few quotes from the work:

"[T]here is no inherent reason why the bones of a building should not be devised by one man and its fleshly clothing by another..." p. 11
"Science advances facing backward, so what prevision can it have of a miraculous and divinely inspired future—or for the matter of that, of any future at all?" p. 57
"The subject of the fourth dimension is not an easy one to understand." p. 104

Architecture and Democracy fig15.PNG

Links and references

See Jonathan Massey, Crystal and Arabesque: Claude Bragdon, Ornament, and Modern Architecture, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009

Portal to Becoming Bucky
A series on how Bucky Fuller developed his methods, based on Lorance's book .
People> Bragdon, Bucky Fuller, Fuller Timelines, Margaret Fuller, Ioganson
Influences> Black Mountain College, Constructivism
Texts> Becoming Bucky Fuller, Margaret Fuller Bio, Your Private Sky, Tensegrity 1961
See also Portal To Basic Concepts for explanations of tensegrity concepts.