''He was this unique, one-off figure with this sort of ingenious sensibility," says Stanford Anderson, an MIT architectural historian. And though Fuller never trained as an architect and disliked being called one, Gorman argues in his book that Fuller has ''done more than any 20th-century architect to challenge our received ideas about building, not as an architect but as a philosopher of shelter."
Fuller was, in all things, assiduously unorthodox. He was, Gorman said in a telephone interview, ''a throwback to these people you'd get in the 17th century who would attempt to rebuild all of human knowledge from first principles." Gorman's book, which draws on newly unearthed archival material, describes how Fuller not only devised his own ''Energetic-Synergistic" geometry but spoke and wrote in a unique, telegraphic dialect purged of what he considered obfuscatory inaccuracies such as ''up" and ''down" (illusions of gravity, after all); he instead used terms like ''instairs" and ''outstairs," based on one's direction relative to the center of the earth. He was also, Gorman writes, ''a prolific and original, if unreadable, poet" who composed an epic poem on the history of industrialization.