Ecological Design: Inventing the Future

Director: Brian Danitz
Screenwriters: Phil Cousineau

Institute History


The changing nature of architecture and design is comprehensively explored in this treatise on the emergence of ecological design in the twentieth century. Beginning with pioneers like R. Buckminster Fuller in the 1920s, the film examines the ideas and prototypes of iconoclastic thinkers who have trail-blazed the development of sustainable architecture in cities, energy systems, transports, and industry.

Structured along thematic lines, including topics like “Design as a Way of Life,” “Creating New Forms of Wealth,” “Designing with Nature,” and “Regenerative Design,” the film is remarkably informative and enlightening. Use of location shots, animation, computer simulation, stills, blueprints, city plans, time-lapse photography, and even footage from NASA weaves a fascinating exploration of the aesthetics, challenges, and rewards of the design process. Interviews with designers, ranging from inventors like Fuller and Paul MacCready; architects Paolo Soleri, Peter Calthorpe and James Wines; city planner Edmund Bacon; to design teacher Jay Baldwin, anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, author Stewart Brand and software designer Ted Nelson give us an inkling of the dynamism and cross-disciplinary scope involved in designing such artifacts as solar structures, Arcologies, bioshelters, living machines, engineered bioshelters, domed cities, electrical vehicles, and city transport. Ecological Design: Inventing the Future offers an engrossing tour of the future: the ideas, artifacts, and designers which will shape the way we look and live in years to come.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details


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