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Published: Thursday August 28, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday August 28, 2014 MYT 12:41:26 PM

Man behind Komtar

A SERIES of activities will be held in remembrance of the late R. Buckminster Fuller, who was instrumental in the construction of Komtar’s iconic Dewan Tunku Geodesic Dome in Penang.

Architect-cum-urban designer Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat said several talks would be held on July 12 next year as a tribute to his old friend fondly known as ‘Bucky’, who died in 1983 at the age of 88.

Fuller was known as the 20th century genius and the Leonardo Da Vinci of his time. He also scored outstanding successes as a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, designer, architect, cartographer and creator of principles like synergetics, tensegrity and ephemeralisation.

He had memorable relationship with Penang, as the Komtar Dome was perhaps his last significant building in Southeast-Asia that should be recognised worldwide.

The dome is a partial-spherical structure based on a pattern of circles called geodesics which intersect to form triangular elements. These triangular elements spread the stress across the entire structure. It was based on a concept studied, developed and popularised by Fuller.

Lim said he had nurtured a lifelong friendship with Fuller, including organising a series of intellectual exchanges with him in Penang and Bali in the 70s and 80s.

“We will organise several talks about him on July 12 which was his birthday. We will even organise an intellectual exchange or mini World Game developed by him.

“It depends on who we can get at that time,” he said after delivering his narration on ‘Komtar and The Buckminster Fuller Connection’ in Komtar’s auditorium A on Saturday.

The topic was one of the Penang Story Lecture series aimed at creating awareness about Penang’s history and heritage. It was jointly organised by Penang Heritage Trust and Think City Sdn Bhd where its chairperson Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal was the moderator.

The World Game, sometimes called the World Peace Game, is an educational simulation developed by Fuller in 1961 to help create solutions to overpopulation and the uneven distribution of global resources.

This alternative to war games uses Fuller’s Dymaxion map and requires a group of players to cooperatively solve a set of metaphorical scenarios, thus challenging the dominant nation-state perspective with a more holistic “total world” view.

The idea was to ‘make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone’, thus increasing the quality of life for all people.

Lim had been lecturing extensively on the importance of the work and philosophy of Fuller following his death.

During the talk, he also presented his narration on his experiences and contributions to urban planning for George Town.

Tags / Keywords: Northern Region, lim chong keat, anwar fazal, komtar

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