It is with tears of joy that I announce the donation of the archives of all of lee Porter Butler’s works to North Carolina State University. This happened on September 11, 2020 at almost the precise moment that nineteen years earlier a plane hit the World Trade Center in new York City causing a terrorist attack on America the likes of which had never been experienced. I am always impressed by dates and numbers. 11 is a master number, my favorite number as it is the day on which I was born in June. Lee died on a master number 11/22, also the date that john Kennedy was killed, and the date of his mother’s birthday.
Lee attended North Carolina State University in The School of Design as a student of architecture. At the time he had three children and was married to Anne. Before becoming a student, Anne’s cousin had sold Lee some property in an undeveloped Laurel Hills area of town. There he designed and built a series of houses in the early 1960s which today can be toured on tours called “Triangle Modernist Houses” referring to the architects of the 1960s who had designed and built houses in the area .
As a student of Werner Schoegrun and Henry Sanoff in The School of Design, Lee was encouraged to play Buckminister Fuller’s World Game. Werner was a student of the famous engineer/philosopher, and Bucky visited campus I believe before Lee got to school there. None the less Lee was uber inspired by Bucky’s thoughts and teachings. He kept Buckminister Fuller’s book, Critical Path his entire career (which I had bequeathed to a young student of Lee’s work, Matt Stephens in Chicago, 2009 I bequeathed Lee’s entire Library to Matt). In playing The World Game, no matter how one played, the world is depleted of all its resources. Lee, having a self proclaimed messianic complex, went about his life work, figuring out how humanity could not deplete the world of its resources and live in harmony on the planet, and with one another.
His life’s work is EKOTECTURE…his solution to this problem.
The first steps on the path to EKOTECTURE were taken in this era. He moved his family to the woods of west Tennessee, to Butler Lake, land which his father had left him, and built his first passive solar house a 10,000 square foot manse, replete with indoor swimming pool, fourteen levels, waterfalls, an indoor greenhouse soaring forty feet, maids quarters, and a dark room for developing film. It was in this home, after an ice storm when Lee was struck but a warm whoosh of air which two years later led to his invention of “The Gravity Geo-thermal Envelope”
….His first major contribution to humanity.