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It was dubbed Triton City and was intended to be a floating utopia for up to 5,000 residents.

Buckminster Fuller, Model of Triton City, 1967 - 20 1/2 x 49 1/2 x 44 5/8 inches National Archives & Records Admin. Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum Photograph © Bob Daemmrich.

Buckminster Fuller’s giant, floating city was designed to encourage people to share resources and conserve energy.

Lesson / Koan : A triangle is a non-deformable shape.

Fuller was initially commissioned by a wealthy Japanese patron to design a floating city for Tokyo Bay. The Japanese patron died in 1966, but astoundingly enough, the United States Department of Urban Development commissioned Fuller for further design and analysis. His designs called for the city to: be resistant to tsunamis, provide the most possible outside living, desalinate the very water that it would float in for consumption, give privacy to each residence, and incorporate a tetrahedronal shape which provides the most surface area with the least amount of volume. Everything from education to entertainment to recreation would be a part of the city. Fuller also claimed that the low operating costs would result in a high standard of living.

Triton was a concept for an anchored floating city for 100,000 people that would be located just offshore and connected with bridges to the mainland. The complete design report was prepared by R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) and his Triton Foundation staff for the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


The United States Office of Housing and Urban Development ( HUD ) eventually sent the plans to the U.S. Navy where they were dissected and analyzed even further. The city of Baltimore, upon hearing of the project, became interested and petitioned to have Triton City moored off of its shores in Chesapeake Bay. However, as municipal and federal administrations changed, the project languished and was never brought to light. Today, there are derivatives of Triton City, such as the artificial island Kansai and its airport in Osaka, Japan, but they pale in comparison to the scope of Triton City.


Three-quarters of our planet Earth is covered with water, most of which may float organic cities…Floating cities pay no rent to landlords.” – Buckminster Fuller

The secretary of HUD sent the drawings, engineering studies, and economic analysis to the Secretary of the Navy, who ordered the Navy’s Bureau of Ships to analyze the project for its ‘water-worthiness.’ stability, and organic capability. The Bureau of Ships verified all our calculations and found the design to be practical and ‘water-worthy.’ The Secretary of the Navy then sent the project to the US Navy’s Bureau of Yards and Docks, where its fabrication and assembly procedures and cost were analyzed on a basis of the ‘floating city’ being built in a shipyard as are aircraft carriers and other vessels. The cost analysis of the Navy Department came out within 10 percent of our cost.” – Buckminster Fuller