This is a programmatic text, half blueprint, half manifesto, which begins by classifying all the energy factors relevant to shelter and architecture into four categories. These can be considered in a series of sweeps, filling in more details as we proceed, i.e. moving from the universal to the particular (as suggested in Reduction By Bits).

Before we do this, it may be worth offering a rationale for Fuller's scheme from systems theory, as described by Golley:

"Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety... states that survival of a system requires that it be designed to have a greater capacity for change than the processes of the environment that affect it." (p.55)

Categories I and II are subjective, defensive, and exclusive;

Categories III and IV are objective, offensive, and inclusive.

Category I covers essentially random phenomena, and Category II routine phenomena.
These are internal to the dwelling and are predictably periodic or rhythmic.

Category III covers essentially random and objective phenomena.
These are internal to the dwelling and include intermittent inititatives.

Category IV covers essentially incisive and routine objective phenomena.
These are external, and involve initiating a sustainable and complex continuity.

Category I has 3 sets (these are outer ramparts):

A : large scale exterior variables

B : large scale interior variables

C : exterior constraints alternately forgotten and re-encountered.

Category II has 3 sets (inner defences):

A : inescapable functions of the organic processes internal to dwelling, external to man

B : inescapable functions of the organic processes internal to dwelling, internal to man

C : interior constants usually forgotten but regularly rediscovered.

Category III has 2 sets (inner initiative-taking):

A : factors designed to foster individual development

B : factors designed to sustain and accelerate these factors.

Category IV has 2 sets (outer contact):

A : factors in design realization of complex dwelling facility service

B : high-order synergetic feedback factors concerning group realizations of collective potential.

Full details must be sought in the original text, but some indication of the types of factors referred to can be seen in the next sweep.

In I.A the first subset concerns the immunization against impingeing factors which may be either:

cataclysmic, like tornadoes or plagues

["Viruses, bacteria, the plasmodia that cause malaria, and other pathogens do not register on our senses and so are not easily recognized enemies, but they are deadly ones." (Ornstein and Ehrlich, p.133)]

dangerous, like floods or lightning

inclement, like dust, snow or vermin.

The second subset considers the deflection, channelling, impounding, or modulating of energy for delayed or immediate use.

I.B considers factors such as:

bacteria control

elimination of physical and psychological fatigue (by means of technical efficiency and the flexibility of the domestic space).

I.C considers environmental contacts which are more or less ever-present, but only occasionally re-encountered, such as the mud forgotten between rains. Also included here are chemical accumulations like fumes, and insect and animal residues.

II.A concerns fuelling of house and occupants

realignment during sleep

domestic and personal refuse factors (including circulatory functions and even elimination of mental refuse by "empirical dynamics").

II.B considers questions of storage

movable and cleanable furniture

home employment of travel equipment

dimensional reduction (e.g. microfilm).

III.A deals with the mechanics of personal growth. Fuller uses the word "conning" (which here either means knowing/learning/studying, or directing the steering (Navigation) of a vessel) to refer to the design-aided awareness of history, news and forecasts. One of the prescient items here is "television university".

As well as conning facilities, Fuller includes here "adequate mechanics of personal articulation". These communication tools include scientific and musical instruments and audio-visual recording equipment.

The two other divisions are Recreation and Procreation.

III.B provides for the insulation of the instrumental initiatives implied in the previous set. Here we consider factors contributing to a global feedback facility conceived in terms of four comprehensive frames.

These frames embrace models, charts, and other data at the subvisible, geovisible, astrovisible and supravisible levels.

They are aids to vital navigation.

They are means to personal and social and cosmic feedback control.

Category IV refers to the realization of a universally designed dwelling facility.

IV.A is the individual phase, involving research and development prior to any collective action.

Here he presents a work pattern for the designer, giving a list of fields to be studied. These studies are carried out in the context of preliminary contacts with libraries, expert authorities and laboratories (industrial, academic and personal). The list of "pertinent arts" has been incorporated in Design Disciplines.

In IV.B, the collective phase of realization, is the most detailed set, containing 30 headings. Here we have a comprehensive survey of the whole sequence of operations from original design through prototyping to manufacture to "consumer synchronization".

Thus we find such factors as:

general assembly drawings and models

field tests

time and energy cost budgeting

materials availability in terms of world economic trends

obsolescence and recycling.

Running concurrently with IV.B is a subset of Public Relations factors, which includes the recommendations:

understate all advantage

never seek publicity.

Readers who have got this far may like to consult Design Torpor.

The full text of Universal Requirements (No More Secondhand God, p.45) may be compared with the Design Science Event Flow, which also mentions recirculation of resources and regeneration.



Paul Taylor 2001