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Valentín Gómez Jáuregui
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
“Tandis que les physiciens en sont déjà aux espaces de plusieurs millions de dimensions, l’architecture en est à une figure topologiquement planaire et de plus, éminemment instable –le cube.” D. G. Emmerich
“All structures, properly understood, from the solar system to the atom, are tensegrity structures. Universe is omnitensional integrity.” R.B. Fuller
“I want to build a universe” K. Snelson
School of Architecture Queen’s University Belfast Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Valentín Gómez Jáuregui Submitted to the School of Architecture. Belfast. . Queen’s University. Date of submission: September 2004. in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the MSc in Architecture.
James Joyce wrote in a letter: “Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. I could not forget John Williams. I would like to express my gratitude to Manolo García. I have crossed through diverse difficulties. who has been with me in every moment for so long. and this is the moment to say ‘thank you’ to all of them. of architecture.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture I. When writing the chapters on the applications and I was looking for detailed information related to real constructions. I have been helped and encouraged by several people. which is my case. and the idiomatic problem was just one more. Acknowledgments I. Everyone in this list is indebted –as I am.to some professionals as great and important as Javier Manterola. from Sidell Gibson Partnership Architects. more or less 86 years ago. Acknowledgements In the month of September of 1918. El Lichis. Joaquín Sabina y Miguel Ángel Hernando. who are contributing with remarkable works to the evolution and progress of engineering and. i . Danielle Dickinson and Elspeth Wales from Buro Happold and Santiago Guerra from Arenas y Asociados. Avelino Samartín and Jörg Schlaich. therefore. for their words and continuous support. Indeed. for me it has been an honour to be helped by them during the development of this dissertation. In writing this dissertation. When I was in trouble or when I needed something that I could not achieve by my own. I was helped by Nick Jay.” I really do not know what would be his opinion if English was not his mother tongue.
for checking the manuscript patiently. grateful to three more people who have had a major influence with their fruitful contributions: Mike Schlaich. and for guiding me during all these months. The simplest way to thank them is to produce the impressive list below: Enrique Aldecoa Sánchez del Río Roslyn Armstrong Sergio Cabo Bolado Andrew Cowser Ghislain A. which was never closed. who opened the gates of tensegrity to me when I knocked on the door of his office. the person responsible for the design and construction of the Tower of ii . Fonder Carolina García-Zaragoza Villa Jose Antonio Gómez Barquín Santiago Guerra Soto Celso Iglesias Pérez Daniel Jáuregui Gómez Juan José Laso de la Riva Mª Elena Linares Macho Javier Manterola Armisén Almudena Monge Peñuelas Arturo Ruiz de Villa Valdés Avelino Samartín Quiroga Jörg Schlaich Mike Schlaich Javier Torres Ruiz Su Taylor Chris J. from Schlaich Bergermann und Partner. It is necessary to mention Prof. Williams I am. I also gratefully thank the following for their help in answering the questionnaires. showing me some sources that I would never have been able to achieve.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture I. I cannot forget the role of Roslyn Armstong and Ailbhe Hickey. Javier Torres Ruiz in particular. Raymond Gilfillan. in particular. Acknowledgments I wish to thank the dedication of the professors who taught me during my primary schooling and later during my specialised education as an engineer in the Universidad de Cantabria. their kind intentions are acknowledged. for their many useful suggestions. K. who were ready to assist me at any time. Université de Liège and Queen’s University Belfast. and to Dr.
at the point where my own resources failed me. who has been collaborating with the computation of some of the new proposals exposed in this work and has generously shared everything he knows about tensegrity. I received invaluable help from Kenneth Snelson. Last but not least. Consequently. I must mention Julie. who worked with the latter and so kindly explained to me everything about the calculations and design of this tower. and. During all my life. especially. thinking of her. Arturo Ruiz de Villa. who facilitated me with precious information about it. si algún día después de amar amé. I finish with another cite from Araby: “My body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires. and for the last months. Lucía”. she has been my left hand and. but beautiful harps in space? iii . even giving me access to some of his articles still in press. fue por tu amor. I started this acknowledgment quoting James Joyce. as is said in my birthplace. probably. Acknowledgments Rostock. has helped me with this dissertation. She has been for almost three years a very important part of my life. and Bob Burkhardt. For everything. He has personally answered some of my questions and doubts about the origins of floating compression. Special thanks to Liona for helping me from her computer and sending me all the items that I required. the discoverer of the tensegrity structures. I had the support of my family and friends. And. “La murria aprieta con juerza”. replying to all of my endless e-mails and checking some of the chapters concerning his experience. many thanks to my mother.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture I. I must sing with Serrat: “Si alguna vez amé.” What are tensegrity structures. some fingers of the right one.
other than Architecture. this work makes an effort to gather more information from various fields. an in-depth research has been carried out. the characteristics of these structures are described. iv . The main aim of this work is to prove that it is possible to find some applications for such an atypical kind of structure. Some references about precedent works that have been important for the development of tensegrity structures have also been mentioned. Abstract II. the steps that followed the progress of the studies and the evolution until the present day. in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture II. therefore. Moreover. With this premise. In order to achieve the intended purpose. especially in the so-called biotensegrity. it is essential to understand the structural principles of floating compression or tensegrity. trying to make the controversial origins clearer. as well as their advantages and weakness when applying them to Architecture. and to find out what the derivations of these phenomena are. in spite of its particular flexibility and relatively high deflections. Abstract Tensegrity is a relatively new principle (50 years old) based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension. as well as the polemic about the fatherhood of the discovery. the continuous tension-discontinuous compression has also been shown to be a basic principle of nature. Once this point is established. and to define the fundamental forces at play.
rather than detailed drawings proposed for a real project. an intense research on patented works tried to find out more feasible possibilities already invented. distinguishing between false and true tensegrities. Abstract Many experts have been working for the past decades on the subject. Finally. When looking at the bibliography. it might be noted that this research has been based on a large number of previous publications. Besides. v .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture II. as an illustration of the possibilities and potentials of tensegrity structures. the definition is crucial to accept or refuse the legitimacy of using the term. some proposals designed by the author are shown. Precedent and current works founded on tensegrity are presented in this thesis. This is because the dissertation also has the aim of serving as a guide to future investigators who could find useful references along with the sources cited.
Some precedents.....3............................ Tensegrity as a universal principle ............................................. List of illustrations ..............2..................................... 36 4.. Materials and tension............4........................................................ Definitions ......................................1...........2..............................1......... Table of Contents I............. Background and History 6 2.................................................. 15 3. Table of Contents III.i II...............................Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture III.................... Equilibrium Analysis vi ....2............... 10 2............................. Abstract..............................1................................ 2 1....................3....................1............ 36 4........................................ 19 3...4.1...... The evolution...................................... The controversy .........................3.................. What is Tensegrity?............................ 43 4......... 3 2...2 Tensegrity in Biology 3.......3............... Suspended roofs and tensile structures 3........3...........................vi IV.3.. The origins.................................................... Cable-Domes 3.................4 Tensegrity in Anatomy 4......................... 1 1.....4.............. Acknowledgements .... 21 3................ Introduction 1 1......... Some analogies 4..4. 19 3............3.....................3............... Introduction ................... What are the objectives of this work? ...............................................4....4.......4................................................ 6 2.......................................1...1............... 40 4..........................2......................... Table of contents ....ix 1.....................2..4......2. Why a dissertation about tensegrity structures? .............................. Tensegrity in Macrocosm and Microcosm 3............4............. Basic Principles . Precedents and Key Studies 19 3.......................... General Characteristics......3 Tensegrity in Inorganic Chemistry 3....................................... Definitions and Basic Principles 36 4....4.........................................................................iv III................... Main Concepts 4....................4.........................4............................................ Introduction ..... Divergences ......................... 8 2....... The Skylon 3............ The Creation of the Simplest Configurations 4......... 29 3....................................3................
.. Furniture (tables.. Tents-like structures 91 6..2. etc) 6.3...... Different applications besides Architecture 94 6.....2....... Different proposals for domes 6...3......2.4..... Other suggestions to develop vii ..2... Properties 4..2.. lamps..... Grids 5.3.....5.............. 58 5. Actual examples ..3........2..........3..7.........3..2..2.............. Outer space structures 92 6.2.. 66 5. 51 4.5.......1... Some other applications for tensegrity towers 6............................ Spherical systems 5........1....3........................................ 69 6..1.. Features .... Submarines (skin fabric) 6.....1...1.2..............5....5.. Disadvantages 5.3.2...... Deployable structures .2....1. Vertical Masts (horizontal beams) 5....2.........2.......2........... Roof structures 87 6....2.... Tower of Rostock 6.2........5..1................ Nomenclature .4....... Rhombic configuration 5........6.......2.......1........2............2..3..7..3..........1................... Conglomerations 5...... Irregular systems 5... 59 5..7............3....7........... Roofing for Stadiums by assembly of modules 6.2............Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture III.....2............................ Footbridge by assembly of modules 6.............. Star systems 5.4.....3........ “Circuit” configuration 5....... Lightning rod from the Helix Tower 6........ Introduction . Toys 6........3... Sculptures 6.4............. Tensegrity pyramidal roof from Truncated 6. Table of Contents 4. Assemblies.....1..........3..........3...2... 73 6.. Cylindrical systems 5.....2....... Calculation of the load response 6...2.1. 71 6..... 97 6... Personal proposals .. Advantages 4.. chairs.. Arches 90 6....22.214.171.124.2...........2.....2...... Applications 71 6..3........ Towers 80 6.......2......2... Domes 73 6..2.........2. Tensegrity dome from the Truncated Icosahedron 6...4...3....1..2............... Advantages and applications for domes 6.5..................3..... “Zigzag” configuration or “Type Z” 5. Classification ..........1......2..3.............. Assemblies of simple structures 58 5.2................... Typologies and classification..2.........1......1........3..........1.......7.... Different proposals for towers 6.
...................................................................... 138 Deflection of the expanded octahedron. Discussion and conclusions 106 8...........................................1........................... 159 Plans and renders...................... C.........................................1............... 181 VI........................ E........................................................ 107 V.................... G................................................................. Questionnaires .................. Questionnaires to specialists 7.... Questionnaires and Interviews 102 7...... 192 viii ......... B. 155 Questionnaire................Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture III.................................................. 112 Other tensegrity patents............................ Further research .....................1............................................... 117 Personal correspondence . F.................... 102 7......................... Questionnaires to professionals 7......2.1.................................. 156 Tensegrity Models ............ Appendices A.................. 164 Extended Bibliography........................................................................ 108 Original tensegrity patents. Discussion and conclusions...... H............................... Questionnaires to the general public 7......................2...... Motro’s correspondence ................ 104 8......................................... 106 8...........................................2..1..................................................................... Interviews . I..... Table of Contents 7.......1..................................................3... Bibliography .......................................................... D.............
5 : “Monument à la forme futile” by Emmerich.3. Pavilion for Expo ‘67” Illustration taken from CISC (2003) Fig. Illustration drawn by the author.1. Fig.2. Snelson.2.1 : “30’ Cantilever” by Snelson (1967) Illustration donated by the artist to the author. 1966.10 : Fuller’s figures.2.2.3. Manterola.2. Fig.org Fig.2. Fundamental concepts. Fig. Illustration taken from Búrdalo (2004) Fig.3.2.S. Illustration taken from Gengnagel (2002) Fig.4 : “Dragon” by K. Illustration taken from CISC (2003) Fig.3.6 : “Geodesic Tensegrity Dome” by Fuller in 1953. World record of cable-stayed bridges in 1983.2.3.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture IV. Illustration taken from Burkhardt (1994-2004) Fig. Illustration taken from Snelson (2004) Fig. Fig.S.2 : Deformation under compression and under tension.7 : “U. Illustration taken from Gengnagel (2002) Fig.3 : “Z3-1 mat prismatique 4B racemique” by Emmerich. List of illustrations Chapter 1 Fig. Illustrations taken from Fuller (1961) Chapter 3 Fig.2. Illustration taken from frenchculture. Pavilion for Expo ‘67” by Fuller in 1967. Rambouillet (France) Illustration taken from Emmerich.3 : a) “Suspension bridge”.2.1 : “Structure-Sculpture” by Ioganson.4 : “Barrios de Luna Bridge” by J. List of illustrations IV. Fig.9 : “T-Octahedron Dome” Positions and effects of exogenous loads.1.2 : “Elementary Equilibrium” or “Simplex” Illustration drawn by the author.8 : “U. Illustration drawn by the author.2 : “Mini-Skylon in chess game” Sculpture made by the author (2000) Chapter 2 Fig.5 : “Skylon” Illustration taken from King and Lockhart (2004) ix .1 : An-Lan Bridge. Fundamental concepts. in Kuanshien (China) Illustration taken from IL (1985) Fig. Illustration drawn by the author. b) “Cable-stayed bridge”.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture IV.10 : Kenner’s derivation of the “Simplex” Illustration drawn by the author.9 : “Music Pavilion” by Frei Otto (1955) Illustration taken from Atelier Warmbronn (2003) Fig.6 : “Skylon”.16 : “Tensegrity Thoracic Vertebrae” Illustration taken from Levin (2002) Chapter 4 Fig.7 : Equilibrium of a post supported by cables.5 : “Georgia Dome” spanning 233.13 : “Tensegrity model of a cell” Like a living cell. Illustration drawn by the autor Fig.3.7 : “Analogy of the balloon” Illustration drawn by the author Fig. Illustration taken from Setzer (1992) Fig.3. Model built by the author. Illustration taken from Gossen et al. Fig.3.14 : “Springs model” Illustration from Ingber (2003) Fig.4. assembly of three struts. Fig.12 : Set of forces acting on a strut.8 : “Raleigh Arena” by Nowicki.4 : “Expanded octahedron” Pure tensegrity.3.4. Illustration taken from Kawaguchi et al.4.3. The compressed square. Representation of the different elements.4.4. Fig. (1997) Fig.3 : “Octahedron” False tensegrity.4.11 : Author’s derivation of the “Simplex” Illustration drawn by the author. it flattens itself and its nucleus when it attaches to a rigid surface (left) and retracts into a spherical shape on a flexible substrate (right). Illustration taken from Fuller (1975) Fig.3. Illustration drawn by the author x .8 : “Analogy of the wire wheel” Illustration drawn by the author Fig. Illustration taken from Snelson (1965) Fig. Fig. The boundary has no compressed component. Model built by the author.12 : “Cable-dome diagram” Symbols for structural members.5x186m (by Weidlinger Asscts. Illustration taken from Buchholdt (1985) Fig.11 : Roof diagram for a Cable-Dome.2 : Snelson with a double planar structure (1961) Illustration donated by the artist to the author.4. Illustration taken from Ingber (1998) Fig.4.6 : “Georgia Dome” Detail of the compressed ring.) Illustration taken from Setzer (1992) Fig. Otto (1967) Illustration taken from Stanton (1997) Fig.15 : Diagram showing the role of tensegrity in heart functions. Illustration taken from Lab (1998) Fig.4.1 : Some Fuller’s tensegrities. (1997) Fig. Illustration drawn by the author.9 : “Generation of the Simplex” by Snelson. Fig.3.3. Fig.10 : “German Pavilion for Expo'67” by F. belongs to the boundary.126.96.36.199.4.3. List of illustrations Fig.
2 : “Dome projected by Snelson” Illustration taken from Snelson (1965) Fig.2 : Generation of T-Prims. Illustration drawn by the author Fig.188.8.131.52 : Continuous tension-discontinuous compression Columns. Illustration drawn by the author after Pugh’s drawings.4.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture IV. Arnhem.5.1 : “Apex of Truncated Icosahedron” Model made by the author Fig.13 : Set of forces acting on a cable.6.6. Montpellier. Illustration taken from Smaili (2003) Chapter 6 Fig. rotation translation and shear.8 : Folding Mechanisms.3 : “Cuboctahedron” Illustration drawn by the author Fig. Fig.5 : “Snowdon Aviary” Illustration taken from Ford (2004) Fig. Cancelling the prestress: Local suppression and global suppression.3 : Detail of Fuller’s patent. Fig.7 : “Needle Tower II” 30m height.6. Fig.15 : “Expanded octahedron” or “Icosahedron” Illustration drawn by the author. List of illustrations Fig. Illustration drawn by the author after Pugh’s drawings.4 : “Tensile skin dome” Illustration from Shelter Systems (1996-2001) Fig. (Holland) Illustration taken from Snelson (2004) Chapter 5 Fig.6. Maintaining the prestress: Rotationrotation.6. Illustration taken from Snelson (2004) Fig. Fig.6.5.6. Illustration taken from Fuller (1954) Fig.6.16 : “Easy-K Installation” by Snelson in 1970. by Sneslon.4.5.6. by Ali El Smaili.5 : Deployed Single Layer System (n8S4C12) and Double Layers System (n16S8C32) Illustration drawn by the author. Illustration taken from Snelson (1965) Fig.5.14 : Right-handed and Left-handed Simplex (“Dextrorse” and “Sinistrorse”) Illustration drawn by the author.4. Illustration drawn by the author Fig.1 : Classification of Spherical Systems.7 : “Bi-dimensional double-layer grid” by Laboratoire de Mécanique et Génie Civil. Fig. Schlaich (2003) and Ruiz de Villa (personal correspondence) xi .6 : “8v Double-Layer Tensegrity Dome” Model built and published by Burkhardt (1999-2004) Fig.4.9 : “Tensegrity Tower of Rostock” Illustrations taken from M. Fig.6 : “V expander” Illustration taken from Motro and Bernard (2002) Fig.4 : “Expanded octahedron” and “Truncated Tetrahedron” Illustration drawn by the author.5.
Modern Museum.18 : “Lunar applications” Fuller exhibition. shopping centre in Edinburgh. Illustration taken from Fuller (1961) Fig.6.12 : Tensegrity Arches.20 : “Sixty Strut Tensegrity Sphere” by Fuller.6. N.13 : Ice Rink Roof in Munich.16 : “Shade Structure” Basic structure.10 : “La Plata Stadium” Illustration from Weidlinger Associates (2002) Fig. List of illustrations Fig.17 : Tent-like Marquee.15 : “Shade Structure” Illustration taken from Daniel Ng (2001-2004) Fig. Three of his basic structures: Tensegrity mast. Picture taken by the author (2004) Fig.6.6. Illustration taken from Janberg (1998-2004) Fig. Geodesic dome. Illustration drawn by the author Fig. Illustration taken from BRUW System (2002) xii . Illustration taken from Burkhardt (1999-2004) and Snelson (2004) Fig. Illustration taken from Adriaenssens and Barnes (2001) Fig.6.6.11 : “Double-layer grid” by the Laboratoire de Mécanique et Génie Civil in Montpellier.6. by Schlaich.6.19 : Tensegrity Furniture Illustrations taken from Koennig (2004) and Werta (2003) Fig.14 : Tensegrity Arch supporting membrane. Octet truss. Illustration drawn by the author Fig.6.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture IV.6.6.Y.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 1 Introduction .
1 . what the purpose is.1. really like to contemplate such a ‘magic’ phenomenon that they do not understand. 3 and 4. People. Several definitions have been established by different experts. systems and natural phenomena have been qualified as tensegrity when. the best way to understand how a tensegrity system works is to have a look at a model or. in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially. This point is further explained in chapters 2. even better. suggests that tensegrity is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension. During the last two decades. the discoverer of the floating compression. why the author wants to deal with this subject and how the research is organised. The bars floating in the air. making an attempt to explain it as simply as possible. 1. Introduction Chapter 1. As an illustration. 1. they were not. actually. without any contact with a ‘solid’ support are truly very impressive. The author. the fig.1 shows a tantalizing sculpture by Kenneth Snelson. In any case. What is Tensegrity? The definition of this term is essential to the consideration of some structures as real or false tensegrities. a lot of structures.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 1. in general. to build one. as he called it. Introduction Before discussing in any detail the contents of this dissertation. it would be desirable to explain what the topic is about.
the first exercise in the course of Advanced Calculation of Structures (E. he started building some models of a mini-Skylon made with the two knights of a chess game (fig.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 1. in 1951. At this point. a symbol erected for the Festival of Britain's South Bank Exhibition.S. Introduction 30’ Cantilever Snelson (1967) Mini-Skylon in chess game Sculpture made by the author (2000) Illustration donated by the artist to the author. 1.2). Why a dissertation about tensegrity structures? The engineer from Stuttgart Jörg Schlaich. de Caminos de Santander) was a reflection about the equilibrium of the Skylon (cf.T. In October of 2000.5). 3. In fact. London. The Skylon was a sort of sculpture. 2 . responded in a smart manner: “Food for thought” 1.2. de Ing. when asked about tensegrity structures. The co-ordinator of the course. fig. Professor Javier Torres Ruiz. 8 Jul 2004. 1 Personal correspondence: excerpt from a letter to the author. it might be interesting to establish how and when the author’s own interest in tensegrity structures started. The atypical and fascinating way it worked motivated the author to discover something more about this structure and about tensile structures in general. 1.
some other objectives have been sought. Hence. to try and understand the best way to do it and suggest proposals (cf. the preliminary objectives were adequately defined and very close to the overall aim of this investigation: to find out if it is possible to use tensegrity structures in Architecture and. books to read. if that answer is affirmative. What are the objectives of this work? When reading J.. the author felt very empathetic with one of his expressions about his own work: “one is ‘groping in the dark’ with little idea of the final result” (p. but also explained to him something else about other similar structures as interesting as the Skylon: tensegrity structures.. Stanley Black’s dissertation (1972). a personal exploration of these systems has allowed the writer to better understand their behaviour. Introduction not only showed him the sources where to find more information. 1. During the research. the various ways the plot might unravel. the uncertainty about the final product was present every night in his mind.” The feelings were more or less the same. the author found some incomplete facts about 3 .3. the book open.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 1. methods to choose. possibilities to develop. This reminded him a passage of Seamus Deane’s “Reading in the dark”: “I’d switch off the light.4). chapter 6 and Appendix H) Despite the fact that it is an ambitious purpose. Since that moment. re-imaging all I had read. and the School of Architecture has permitted him to choose the topic as the central point of this dissertation. due to the large amount of resources already read.. the novel opening to endless possibilities in the dark. Whatever the case may be.
chapter 4). Appendix B) and shed light on some polemic aspects about the authorship. To investigate the use of structures similar to tensegrity in previous studies. To establish a clear and generally accepted definition of tensegrity (cf. in his opinion. works or patents (Appendix C) and compare them to some of the suggested proposals in order to attest the feasibility of their potential (cf. chapter 4) and to set up a general classification for these systems (cf. chapter 2). the sculptor Kenneth Snelson (cf. To estimate how widespread the knowledge about tensegrity structures actually is among architects and engineers by means of interviews and questionnaires (cf. which could serve as a guide for further investigators (cf. chapter 7) 4 . highlighting the advantages and indicating as well its weak spots (cf. not only related to Architecture but also to other dissimilar fields. To define the structural characteristics and fundamental concepts of the socalled continuous tension-discontinuous compression. tracing a line of the time and pointing out the most relevant authors. As a result the collateral intention of this investigation is: To study the origins of tensegrity.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 1. the present and the future of tensegrity that. describing its properties. original patents included (cf. chapter 5). specialists and publications. chapter 3 & 6). chapter 2 & 3). To revise the history and progress of this kind of structure. enquiring personally to its discoverer. required clarification. Introduction the past.
Introduction To achieve a wider professional awareness and encourage consideration of tensegrity structures in Architecture and Engineering. the absence of appropriate infrastructures. there are several appendices containing relevant information. Unfortunately. budget and time suggested abandoning the idea. In addition. but which could be peripheral and could disturb the main theme of the study. Instead. Appendix G) and. It is worthwhile highlighting that at the very beginning some experimental studies and load testing of models were programmed. an attempt was made to compute the final geometry in more detail. as a feasible application for modern works. Appendix D) and some other unpublished works are also included. once the design was established. Some excerpts of the author’s personal correspondence (cf. the author worked with models in depth (cf. 5 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 1.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2 Background and History .
R. Motro (1987. it is not a commonly known type of structure. Emmerich-28 Sep 1964. In order to obtain a further explanation of this sculpture. Snelson-16 Feb 1965. David Georges Emmerich and Kenneth D. Although all of the three have claimed to be the first inventor.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. As it will be explained in chapter 7. Three men have been considered the inventors of tensegrity: Richard Buckminster Fuller. so knowledge of its mechanism and physical principles is not very widespread among architects and engineers. see Appendix D. fig. (See Appendix B).1. The origins. was created by a certain Karl Ioganson 2 in 1920 (cf. Background and History Tensegrity is a developing and relatively new system (barely more than 50 years old) which creates amazing. 2. lightweight and adaptable figures. 2 It must be contrasted that in Motro (1988) the same author called him Johansen. était manipulable à l'aide d'un huitième tirant detendu. called "Gleichgewichtkonstruktion". 6 . "Cette curieuse structure. where Snelson gives his personal opinion. Snelson1. one of the most curious and peculiar aspects of tensegrity is its origin. 2. However. Background and History Chapter 2. 2003) mentions that Emmerich (1988) reported that the first proto-tensegrity system.1). these names have been mentioned in chronological order of their granted patents: Fuller-13 Nov 1962. assemblée de trois barres et de sept tirants. 1 Illustration taken from Gengnagel (2002) As a precaution. giving the impression of a cluster of struts floating in the air. As Emmerich (1988) explains: Structure-Sculpture Ioganson. controversy and polemic will always be present when arguing about its discovery.
but maintaining its equilibrium. fig. He adds that this configuration was very similar to the proto-system invented by him. Snelson (Oregon. When he showed it to Fuller." This means it was a structure consisting of three bars. with three struts and nine cables (cf.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. which can be considered the first tensegrity structure ever designed. and after that summer. 1895-1983) and K. he achieved a new kind of sculpture. Cette configuration labile est très proche de la protoforme autotendante à trois barres et neuf tirants de notre invention. USA). The most controversial point has been the personal dispute. Motro (see Appendix A). he started to study some three-dimensional models. Fuller (Massachusetts. during the summer of 1948. B. poet and inventor (registering 25 patents during his life). which is one of the characteristics of tensegrity systems. seven cords and an eighth cable without tension serving to change the configuration of the system. does not allow Ioganson's “sculpturestructure” to be considered the first of this kind of structures. asking for his Elementary Equilibrium Simplex Illustration drawn by the author. in addition to being a charismatic and a nonconforming architect. between R. All the same. influenced by what he had learnt from Fuller and other professors. As the artist explains. the absence of prestress. the "Elementary Equilibrium". cosmologist. Background and History l'ensemble étant déformable. 2. Snelson was an art student who attended his lectures on geometric models. 1927). As the latter explains in a letter to R.2). #2 and #3 of Appendix A). creating different sculptures (see photos #1. lasting more than thirty years. 7 . D. Fuller was a new professor in the Black Mountain College (North Carolina. mathematician. engineer.
started to study different kinds of structures as tensile prisms and more complex tensegrity systems. thus to discover multi-dimensional four. Z3-1 mat prismatique 4B racemique Illustration taken from frenchculture. David Georges Emmerich (Debrecen-Hungary. he let people think that it was his invention. he always wrote “Tensegrity” starting with a capital T.2. five and six axes symmetrical Tensegrity. he defined and patented his "reseaux autotendants" (see Appendix B).org 2. after some time he started to consider it as “my Tensegrity”. 3 ” At the same time. probably inspired by Ioganson's structure. naming and development of both the multi-dimensional vectorial geometry and the three dimensional Tensegrity. The controversy Even though at the beginning Fuller mentioned Snelson as the author of the discovery. I had been ransacking the Tensegrity concepts. but independently. Background and History opinion. 1925-1996).3). he coined this term in 1955 as a contraction of “Tensional-Integrity”. for so many years. In Fuller’s (1961) words: “For twenty-one years. before meeting Kenneth Snelson. 8 . so by calling these structures with the denomination he chose. and serving as an illustration of how important it was considered. As a result. I had been unable to integrate them.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. Actually. which he called "structures tendues et autotendants". the professor realized that it was the answer to a question that he had been looking for. which were exactly the same kind of structures that were being studied by Fuller and Snelson (Vesna. 2000). tensile and selfstressed structures (see fig 2. “Creating this strange name was his strategy for appropriating the idea as 3 In contrast to other authors. (…) Despite my discovery.
because Fuller affirmed that inventors can’t invent the eternal principles-cosmic laws of the universe. asking his student to remain anonymous for some time. The accuracy in reporting 4 by both men continued furthermore. he never mentioned Snelson in one of his most important and renowned books about tensegrity. Snelson. 1967. but some years later he changed his mind. Obviously. quotes Snelson in various publications (Coplans. 1977. Schneider. and not the inventor. 2004). in answer to a Snelson’s one-page letter. he always thought that if he had not catalyzed Snelson’s discovery. in those letters they tried to clarify the authorship of the discovery. (See Appendix D) 9 . In fact. “Synergetics” and failed to do so again in his correspondence with Burkhardt (see both references in Bibliography).” However. Paradoxically. continuous-tension structures was given me by a colleague. Therefore his contribution to tensegrity was credit and recognized publicly. According to Vesna (2000). This situation pushed Snelson to insist on acknowledgement during an exposition of Fuller’s work in 1959. he had patented those universal laws in 1962. Tensegrity would have never been invented as a new structure. his art student was certainly confused. Background and History his own”. at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. Kenneth Snelson. 4 Expression suggested by Snelson instead of battle of egos. Fuller (1961) referred to Snelson again: “(…) an extraordinary intuitive assist at an important moment in my exploration of the thus discovered discontinuous-compression. A couple of years later. and must be officially mentioned in my formal recital of my "Tensegrity" discovering thoughts. at the end of 1949 Fuller wrote to Snelson saying that his name would be noted in history (see Appendix A).Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. when in 1980 Fuller wrote a 28-page letter to Snelson.
net) 10 .The evolution. perhaps it would be better to pay more attention to the possibilities of these structures than to the past controversy. As quoted by Stephen Kurtz’s: “If Fuller acknowledges his debt to Snelson for the invention of the tensegrity principle. due to his artistic background and his opinion in relation to the difficult application of tensegrity systems. which he has been creating until the present day.kennethsnelson. he focused his work on the sculptural and aesthetic aspect. He avoided very deep physical and mathematical approaches. Even though he commenced studying the fundamental concepts of tensegrity. Background and History Who invented tensegrity? It is evident that the answer is not evident. Snelson was once again keen to continue working with tensegrity as an essential part of his sculptures. After the brief moment of acknowledgment in the MOMA. the synergy (a word so often used by Fuller) created by both the student and professor. Dragon Illustration taken from Snelson (2004) asymmetrical and non conventional. This process provided him the facility to develop very different configurations. 5 See Keneth Snelson’s web page (www. resulted in the origin of tensegrity. gathered and summarised in his web page 5. Snelson likewise acknowledges his own debt to Fuller's visionary work” (1968). Although acknowledgement is very important for the two of them.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. In the author’s opinion. 2. especially for Snelson (the only one still alive).3.
the construction of tensegrity systems requires a fine and delicate technique that he has been improving over the years. the “thirty-islanded Tensegrity sphere” (icosahedron). actually. mainly spherical and one-dimensional systems: masts (cf. he is the only person capable of engineering his constructions. They did it using models and empiric experiments as their main tools. fig. respectively (Fuller 1961). He also discovered the “six-islanded-strut icosahedron Tensegrity” (expanded octahedron)6 .4). Just after viewing Snelson’s sculpture. Moreover. 1966.5).Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. as it is stated by Fox (1981). Subsequently. Fuller’s denominations. the “six-islanded Tensegrity tetrahedron” (truncated tetrahedron) and the “three-islanded octa-Tensegrity”. The actual process whereby Snelson erects his works is a science and an art in itself. the inventor from Massachusetts studied some simple compositions.2. Fuller and Emmerich took a different approach. a hierarchy of premier Tensegrity structures was created and the comprehensive laws of universal tensegrity structuring were completed. creating such Tensegrity systems as the “vector equilibrium” (cubo-octahedron). they looked for possible applications to architecture and engineering. On the other hand. and in contrast to Snelson. 11 . studying the different possible typologies of tensegrity. Monument à la forme futile Illustration taken from Emmerich. 2. and produced a family of four Tensegrity masts characterised by vertical side-faces of three. Consequently.3 & 2. Background and History applying his intuitive knowledge and achieving impressive sculptures that are spread all over the world (cf. four. 6 In quotation marks. this work was developed by other people. figs. five and six each.
6) (although they lacked of stability due to the absence of triangulation). 1967. while Fuller patented his “Geodesic Domes” in 1954 (US 2. 2. fig. Bucky (as Buckminster Fuller was also known). the final application of Tensegrity was not as successful as he thought it would be. 1975a). 12 .7 & 2. He made several attempts to design geodesic tensegrity domes (cf. as he intended. 2.8) as a geodesic dome but without using Tensegrity principles due to time and budget reasons. some people who were influenced by Fuller’s work. looking for any application to architecture and 7 By coincidence. Emmerich patented the “Stereometric Domes” in 1967 (US 3. figs. kept on looking for new designs. and patented 7 some of his works connected to this subject (Fuller. started to explore this new structural system.682. applications and methods of construction. and.989). Background and History Geodesic Tensegrity Dome Illustration taken from Gengnagel (2002) Thus.235). Henceforth. he was forced to build the Montreal bubble at Expo ’67 (cf.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. he was never able to produce the Tensegrity dome which could cover a whole city. in addition. However.341.
1997.S. Stanley Black (1972) wrote an unpublished study which tried to recall the main concepts known at that time and to figure out some possible systems and configurations. tensile structures became more popular in the 1970s. e. started to publish his studies on the subject in 1973: Topologie des structures discrètes. 1988.. 1992). Pavilion for Expo ‘67 Illustration taken from CISC (2003) U. but something more similar to Levy and Geiger’s works (Geiger. the basis of tensegrity were not very clear at that moment. It was an internal note for the Laboratory of Civil Engineering of the University of Montpelier (France) about the mechanical behaviour of this kind of 8 See Appendix I. Autotendant icosaédrique. Incidence sur leur comportement mécanique. J. Setzer. 13 . Background and History U. and his final design was not a reflection of a true tensegrity system. René Motro. to have a more complete perspective of the different aspects of tensegrity in terms of publications and studies. Extended Bibliography by subjects.g. It will be explained in the next chapter that after some first attempts of tent-shaped structures by Frei Otto during the 60s. Although it was a good attempt. Frei Otto and Jörg Schlaich in 1972. For instance.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. the Olympic Stadium of Munich by Fritz Leonhardt.S. probably one of the most important specialists in tensegrity at present. Pavilion for Expo ‘67 Illustration taken from CISC (2003) engineering 8 . Goosen et al.
some authors made an effort to develop the field opened by their predecessors. little reliable information had been published on the subject. Anthony Pugh and Hugh Kenner (see bibliography). both from the University of California (Berkeley). It is important to note that there is conflicting information in both books: Kenner affirms that Snelson’s work was “unknown to Tony” (pg. Some years later. On the other hand. apart from some of Fuller’s writings (see Bibliography). From this time forth. ix. During the 1980s. Even though the latter work is more explicit in geometric and mathematic subjects. which shows how to calculate “to any degree of accuracy” the pertinent details of geodesic and tensegrity regular structure’s geometry (lengths and angles of the framing system).Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. which is interesting for the variety of models that it outlines and his strict classification and typology. both of the authors realized that. On the one hand. 3. xi). this laboratory and engineer became a reference in terms of tensegrity research. Nevertheless. Robert Burkhardt started an in-depth investigation and maintained a correspondence with Fuller (1982) in order to obtain more details about the geometry and mathematics of tensegrity. it also lacks the treatment of behaviour of tensegrity under load. while Anthony Pugh refers to Snelson in several paragraphs of his book (pgs. T-Octahedron Dome Illustration taken from Burkhardt (1994-2004) 14 . in 1976. Pugh wrote the “Introduction to Tensegrity”. Kenner developed the useful “Geodesic Math and How to Use It”. and explores their potentials. Background and History structure. continued this work with different lines of attack.…).
R. Recently. 1998b) have aimed to find a proper threedimensional generalization for tensegrities. Buckminster Fuller. the resourceful and charismatic inventor.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. 20 years later. Pellegrino. Since it is not always possible to read all the publications that are appearing in relation to a specific field.M. A. W. they have drawn up a complete catalogue of tensegrities with detailed prescribed types of stability and symmetry. Connelly and Back (1998a. useful and continuously revised Practical Guide to Tensegrity Design (Burkhardt. 1994-2004). who defined the main bidimensional assemblies of elementary self-equilibrated cells and Nestorovic (1987) with his proposal of a metallic integrally tensioned cupola. Williams. 2. D.) have also studied the physics. looked for something else. Pedretti. topological and algebraical points of view) and mechanics of tensegrity structures. However. Divergences Nevertheless. Watt.G. apart from the authors mentioned above. etc. 1992). including some that have never been seen before. more 15 . Kono. Other authors (S. only the most relevant will be pointed out in the next paragraphs. Skelton.4. and Motro and his group in Montpellier. Y. there have not been many works seeking to apply this new knowledge to any field in particular. mathematics (from geometrical. The most recent works will be referred to again in chapter 6. Using the mathematical tools of group theory and representation theory and the capabilities of computers. Williamson. M. Passera.O. Background and History The final result. Other important investigators have been Ariel Hanaor (1987. A.E. several works have been adding to the body of knowledge. something more universal and abstract. Tibert. is a very complete.
elements under tension don’t need a great deal of matter.04) “This structural scheme of islanded spheres of compression. until the point of considering the sphere as the best shape to support compression loads. 1982) Therefore. In his book Synergetics.” (ibid. convinced about the advantages and basic principles of tensegrity. Fuller extrapolated this phenomenon to the total Universe. after Fuller was deceased.” (Fuller. He was not very readable. 2.10). Universe is omnitensional integrity” (Fuller. are tensegrity structures. fig. something that would be able to achieve a major universal law. also characterizes the atomic nucleus's structural integrities. 700. The structural integrity of Universe is tensional as Kepler discovered. from the solar system to the atom. In these publications. it serves as an illustration that. Fuller (1975b) thought that there is no limit ratio in tension. this is the game that the 16 . Edmonson (1987) wrote her Fuller explanation. macrocosm and microcosm. how compression obliges the components of a structure to become thicker in order to avoid buckling. were structured following the tensegrity principles. Although he never refused to apply tensegrity to technical fields. the solar systems and the atoms.08) “I simply found that the Universe is compressionally discontinuous and only tensionally continuous. he wrote: “All structures. both macrocosmic and microcosmic. both of them tried to make the ideas of such a hectic inventor clearer. in his opinion tensegrity was the base of the Universe: both. it is explained. while Applewhite (1986) prepared the Synergetics dictionary: the mind of Buckminster Fuller. 1975b. Background and History generic. especially with the discovery of new materials which are resilient and strong. so we could have very great lengths and no section at all. I gave this phenomena the name “tensegrity.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. which are only mass-attractively cohered. 713. making a rather complicated metaphor. and support enormous amounts of tension with very narrow sections (cf. properly understood. Contrary. Tensegrity discoveries introduce new and very different kinds of structural principles which seem to be those governing all structuring of Universe. following the ideas exposed in Synergetics.
Just fundamentally. He is the island. which is applied to the human race. And it’s just very fundamental. it is curious how he tried to explain everything making use of tensegrity principles.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. 1989) 17 .” (Fuller. also tried to obtain an atomic configuration. she pulls. She pulls in. She does the other way. What we call being female is to pull—to walk away. I find the male tending to do this—to punch. Now. I just. In this way. This is really very fundamental in social behaviour. The male then becomes discontinuous. Fuller’s figures. generally speaking. And a man is compressive. Background and History Universe is playing: Gravity. nuclei and electrons) is another type of tensegrity. but the male goes off to be the hunter and the fighter. the Earth and the Moon are invisibly cohered and. a “portrait” of the atom. He becomes islanded. personally find then that the woman is tensive. he was convinced that the atomic attraction (especially the invisible interaction between atoms. She is central. The following example. Just the sex act. where compression and tension are always separated. is a good illustration: “I also then point out to you the difference between the male and the female. but his approach was from an artistic and geometrical perspective (Snelson. He is a hunter. The female and her young and so forth are the great continuity of that family. this is the manner in which the solar system coheres. but Snelson. and always coexist. to attract.9 Finally. like Fuller. He thrusts. 1981) 9 Perhaps it is a coincidence. Illustrations taken from Fuller (1961) On another scale.
Background and History In contrast to this opinion. In the next chapter. where sun pushes and plants pull.and that restriction leaves out endless numbers of items. “Tensegrity”. Snelson is very clear: “Yes. Structures. historians and Hellenists. it is possible to affirm that depending on the definition of the word “tensegrity”. Fuller declared that everything in the universe was tensegrity. 3 Aug 2004. 2003). This will be the aim of chapter 4. 2001) compared this “push and pull” strategy to living organisms in Nature (including vegetables and plants) to describe the three possible classes of life looking for tensegrities: in photosynthesis-radiation. sculptures. As I've also said elsewhere. internal structure of the radiolaria (marine protozoa). if everything is tensegrity then tensegrity is nothing of any particular sort. Tensegrity structures are endoskeletal prestressed structures -. support system of the spine and some other components of the skeleton (Levin 1982). systems. where the first is pulling in new knowledge while the latter one is pushing out information to someone else. 1998. so what's the point in using that word?” 10 Following Bucky’s line of thinking. other examples of tensegrity in Nature are shown: cell structures and their behaviours (Ingber 1993. in preypredator. anatomic organisms. and named as. other authors (Wilken. (See Appendix D) 18 . so it is necessary to have a clear and concise definition that avoids confusion.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 2. 10 Kenneth Snelson: excerpt from an e-mail to the author. it is feasible to involve these kinds of principles to a wide range of phenomena. Another good example of the extension of the term tensegrity to other fields was the participation of René Motro in a seminar at the Collège International de Philosophie of Paris. The course was dedicated to. where female is continuously attracting and males are discontinuously pushing. and finally in student-teacher. In conclusion. and had the contribution of biologists. relationships and interactions between diverse elements in the environment can be considered as tensegrity.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3 Precedents and Key Studies .
000 psi. its evolution and development are strongly connected to other events and circumstances. but its 10.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. 1 psi = pounds per square inch. according to Edmonson (ibid). resulted in many new possibilities and.1. This chapter will attempt to explain how it is possible to achieve such a modern and contemporary structure from its more original beginning. the first mass production of steel.2. changed this situation greatly. Introduction.89 KPa = 0.069 bar = 6. the investigation of materials suitable for traction efforts has been crucial.000 psi 1 in traction was not comparable with the 50. said Fuller (ibid).000 psi in compression of stone masonry. Edmonson (1985) states that. in both compression and traction. 3. until that moment. “Tension is a very new thing”. Despite the fact that the origins of tensegrity were exposed in the previous chapter. only the tensile strength of wood had been exploited (mainly in ships’ construction). That steel was able to reach 50. Efficient “push-and-pull” structures would have been inconceivable before the 18th Century due to the incapability to obtain effective behaviour of material under tension. Precedents and Key Students Chapter 3. Materials and tension Due to the fact that the main support of these structures is the continuum tension. Precedents and Key Studies 3. (1 psi = 0.068 Atm) 19 . However. in 1851. the building of the Brooklyn Bridge opened an innovative era of tensional design.
their weight. and their load-bearing capacity was incapable of supporting heavy loads.1). were invented many centuries ago. six An-Lan Bridge out of hardwood and the centre one out of granite (cf. These new materials not only served to increase the resistance of the components. Illustration taken from IL (1985) In any case. which hang from seven piers. weight and performances of materials. It should not be forgotten that the first suspension bridges. it has the tendency to augment its cross-section (due to 20 . consequently. the behaviour of elements under a load is different depending on the type of load.D. However. based on a tensile structural concept. in Kuanshien (China).Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. but also to decrease their cross-section and. they were probably the first system that took advantage of tensile properties of materials. Although they were made from rope and wood. which enabled engineers and architects to create new designs and new structural concepts. An example is the An-Lan Bridge. It is made of bamboo rope cables. this statement is not completely accurate. As illustrated in figure 3. fig. Precedents and Key Students From the author’s point of view. which is the oldest suspension bridge in use (app. it is evident that the development of steels and other alloys led to unpredicted outcomes in terms of resistance. 300 A.). when a lineal element is compressed allong its main axis.2. 3.
Deformation under compression and under tension. G. On the contrary. more importantly. Illustration drawn by the author. After this first attempt. As has just been commented on. when the same element is tensioned in the same direction. the first cable roofs were designed by V. especially their tensile strength. it “reaffirms” its straight axe (fig.2. but they were not very important examples.3.2. some works were conceived to adopt the most recent resources and to take advantage of their most privileged properties. Before and after the discovery of tensegrity in 1948. 2 Philip Drew (1976) refers to him as “Shuchov”. 21 .b). permitted the revolution of thinking in terms of architectural and engineering design. 3. the new materials discovered during the 19th and 20th centuries. Shookhov 2 in 1896. Some precedents. the innovation in materials is essential for the future of pre-stressed structures. For this reason. According to Tibert (1999). 3. Precedents and Key Students Poisson’s ratio effect) and to buckle. which means it loses its straight shape (fig. it tends to become thinner and. whose compressed elements must be more resistant to buckling. some other structures were proposed during the 1930s. and whose tensioned members have to better resist the traction forces.a). 3.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. This Russian engineer built four pavilions with hanging roofs at an exhibition in Nizjny-Novgorod (Russia).
3. Thus the deck is prestresed and put in equilibrium (cf.a.b). 3. Precedents and Key Students Suspension bridge Illustration drawn by the author.3. which were observed above and in fig. Apart from the suspension bridges. some other types of bridges elevated the importance of tension to the same level that compression had had during the preceding centuries. A very good example is the Barrios de Luna Bridge (fig.4) in Asturias (Spain). which make use of the stressed cables to support the deck and also put it under compression. This is the case with cable-stayed bridges. Cable-stayed bridge Illustration drawn by the author. 22 . 3. by Javier Manterola. fig. 3.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. which shows this principle perfectly in both of its two towers and main span of 440 m.
3.1. Illustration taken from Búrdalo (2004) 3. just three years after the official discovery of tensegrity. Manterola. a staple of international exhibitions grounds. which was selected as the best proposal and built near the “Skylon” Dome of Discovery. In 1951. 3. fig. the Festival of Britain's South Bank Exhibition took place in London. World record of cable-stayed bridges in 1983. a competition was organised to erect a “Vertical Feature”. In that occasion. Illustration taken from King and Lockhart (2004) 23 . Precedents and Key Students TE N S I O N COMPRESSION Barrios de Luna Bridge J. Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya (helped and inspired by their former Felix Samuely) designed the Skylon (cf. The Skylon.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3.5).
1995. a beacon of technological and social potentialities and. a reference for future engineers and architects. You felt there weren't enough wires to hold it up. which made it tremendously exciting. as it is shown in fig. he pumped up these jacks and raised the pylons. 1995) 24 . This lack of support made the structure look tremendously hazardous. F w1 w2 E B A Skylon Illustration drawn by the author. Once the whole structure was assembled. 1996) state that this needlelike structure was a monument without any functional purpose. and seemed to float 40 feet above the ground. The 300 foot high spire was a cigar-shaped aluminium-clad body suspended almost invisibly by only three cables.6." (Cruickshank. Precedents and Key Students Some authors (Cruickshank. 3. Burstow. This reduced the number of wires needed to anchor the Skylon and halved the amount of oscillation in the structure. finally. the father of the idea: “By an amazing stroke of genius [Felix Samuely] arranged a system of hydraulic jacks underneath the three smaller pylons..Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. The structure. was composed of a cradle of prestressed steel wires and three splayed pylons. According to Moya. This put tension or stresses into all the cables and by doing that the whole thing became a stressed structure. but it became a symbol for the festival.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. 25 . As a consequence. materials and tissues. but also that of other elements such as membranes. the exploitation of cables in traction was not only improved. it tends to return to the upright position. In contrast. which explains the condition for stability of a post (pin-joint to the ground in A) supported by stressed cables.7. As an illustration.7. when there is any disturbance of this situation. Equilibrium of a post supported by cables. if it is held in a point E above the level of the ground.4 the equilibrium analysis will be further explained. it collapses. and the rest of the points are in association with the nomenclature of fig.3. 3. Suspended roofs and tensile structures During the 1950s.2.4. 3. the post is in an instable equilibrium (any movement of F will lead it to fall down). the equilibrium of the strut will depend on the position where the other string (w2) is held: If it is fixed in a point C below the level of A. If it does it in D. at the same level. in other words. it has been demonstrated that the conditions for the equilibrium of a strut in a three-dimensional space are susceptible to the point of application of the ends of the wires that fix it. If one of the wires (w1) is attached to the ground in B. In paragraph 4. 3. Precedents and Key Students The cause of the feeling of not having enough cables to hold the zeppelin-like shape element is due to the stable equilibrium obtained by means of its particular configuration. the cables are w1 and w2. Illustration drawn by the autor 3.. In the diagram of Skylon in fig. the system is in a stable equilibrium.6. a diagram inspired by Francis (1985) is presented in fig.
acrylic panels. His name was Frei Otto and that was the first comprehensive documentation on suspended roofs (Drew. Precedents and Key Students In 1950. and in 1964 was included in The Institute of Light Surface Structures at the University of Stuttgart. to further increase the research into tensile architecture (see Appendix I.8). polyester. cotton-polyester mix. Kassel (Germany) in 1955 (fig. PVC. These projects are important for the development of tensegrity structures since this kind of membrane can be adopted as the tensile component of tensegrities. glass fibre. The Development Centre for Lightweight Construction was founded by him five years later in Berlin. a German student of Raleigh Arena Nowicki. whose structure was calculated by Jörg Schlaich.9). As a result.10) and the celebrated Olympic Stadium in Munich in 1972. he started a systematic investigation that was presented as his doctoral thesis in 1952. the first large cable net structure with fabric cladding. at Raleigh (North Carolina) was designed by Matthew Nowicki following his intuitive concepts of suspended roofs (fig. Among these projects. there was an early four-point tent as a Music Pavilion of the Bundesgartenschau. That same year. Pugh (1976) built a dome made out of wooden struts and plastic skin. etc. the German pavilion at the World’s fair in Montreal 1967 (fig. 1999). especially steel. but also polyurethane. 3. some important works were developed exploiting the tensile properties of materials. 3. 3. For instance. Otto 1967-69. 26 . Tibert.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. 1973). 1976. Hence. and was completely fascinated by the innovative idea. the State Fair Arena. architecture had a brief look at the drawings and plans during a exchange Illustration taken from Buchholdt (1985) trip to the USA.
3.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. O. which he later called “Aspension”. “Music Pavilion” by Frei Otto (1955) Illustration taken from Atelier Warmbronn (2003) “German Pavilion for Expo'67” by F. invented by David Geiger in 1986 3 (see Bibliography: Geiger 1988. Williams (2003) points out. This is the case of the “Cable-Domes” or “Wire Wheel Domes“.3.4. Cable-Domes. As W. 3 Even though Geiger did not refer directly to Buckminster Fuller. it should be recalled that Fuller (1964) patented a similar kind of structure. 27 . the denomination of “tensegrity” has been extended to include any sort of pin-connected structure in which some of the frame members are wires in tension or bars only in compression. This can be seen in Appendix C. In fact. Motro (2003) is quick to identify them as false tensegrities since they have a compressed member in the boundary. and Appendix C).2). Despite the fact that some architects and engineers consider these roof structures as tensegrities.3 & 4. and converges to an internal ring in order to join all of them. Since then. several domes have been built following this technique. Precedents and Key Students the latter being the component in tension that supported the compression members of the structure. Otto (1967) Illustration taken from Stanton (1997) 3. The reason behind this argument will be shown in the subsequent chapter (paragraphs 4. where a group of radial tensegrity beams is attached to an external ring in compression.
3. followed by the Redbird Arena in Illinois. the first oval cable-dome (1988).11) The first cable-domes were designed by Geiger: for the Olympics in Seoul (1986). Did the world need a different name for that kind of solid rim. and the Tayouan Arena in Taiwan (1993). the sculptor responds in a clear manner: “The (…) domes you cite can not be considered tensegrity. regardless what people wish to call them. Petersburg (1988). exoskeletal structure? I think not. which is a one of Roof diagram for a Cable-Dome Illustration taken from Gossen et al.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. Precedents and Key Students Snelson does not regard them as real floating compression systems. it is evident that at least they are inspired by their principles: compressed struts that do not touch each other and are linked only by means of cables (cf. They are. Indeed. (1997) 4 Kenneth Snelson: excerpt from an e-mail to the author. the biggest dome in the world to date. when asked about the subject. essentially. same with a spider web. 3 Aug 2004. bicycle wheels.” 4 Admitting that they are different to tensegrities. 28 . the Florida Suncoast Dome in St. fig. See Appendix D.
in the meantime some scientists. 29 . It might be interesting to note that. Precedents and Key Students this type.6 in next chapter). they were related to architecture and mathematics. is the Georgia Dome in Atlanta (1992) by Levy and Weidlinger Associates (see figs. subsequently. conceive tensegrity as a basic principle in the Universe. 1997). starting with Fuller and Snelson. Or even more. The origins of tensegrity are linked to sculpture. because of the sparseness of the cable-dome network.. Cable-dome diagram Illustration taken from Kawaguchi et al. these structures are not very determinate in classical linear terms and have several independent mechanisms. or in other words. inextensional modes of deformation (Pelegrino.5 & 4. as an answer to a general question about the nature of structure.4. from macrocosm to microcosm. Tensegrity as a universal principle. cited in Gossen et al. (1997) 3.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. 4. and at present. Nevertheless. about the structure of nature (Burrows. mainly civil and mechanical engineers are trying to research its properties and applications. 1989).
fig. Ingber. in a stable equilibrium. The main one was contributed by Donald E. in the early 80s. professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School. also described in paragraph 2. a journal article written in 1961. and with the condition that the continuum of tensions is always surrounding the “islands” or components in compression.4. In addition to the last proposal. Tensegrity can generally be considered as a structural principle. only if it does it corresponding to a particular field of forces.2 Tensegrity in Biology.1. 2. he cited the word “universe” or anything else related to the universe in 19 occasions. Harris about the elasticity of cells. it is necessary to establish some important concepts.4. 3. In order to illustrate this fact. Compression and traction can be. in atomic physics (an electron to the nucleus) and in mechanics (a cable to a rod).Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. “atom” was mentioned 12 times and terms related to the “nature” 13 times.4. Tensegrity in Macrocosm and Microcosm. As was explained in chapter 2. Fuller’s writings are continuously referring to tensegrity as the essential pattern of the universe (cf. it occurred to him that a view of the cell 30 . 2003) Kurtz (1968) mentioned that Snelson notices all ways of connection through tensegrity: in Astronomy (a planet to the sun). for instance. under a precise distribution of elements or components. associated with repulsion and attraction respectively. several suggestions have been put forward by different specialists from different fields. Precedents and Key Students 3. which is very convenient for gravitational and atomic examples (Motro. it has been stated by the author that in “Tensegrity”.10 of chapter 2). In order to do the transposition of tensegrity to subjects other than material ones. After some comments by Albert K.
” (Ingber. “suggests that the structure of the cell's cytoskeleton can be changed by altering the balance of physical forces transmitted across the cell surface”.A. Precedents and Key Students as a tensegrity structure could easily explain such behaviour (Ingber. based on several experimental works. the biologist suggested that cells and nuclei 31 . 2003a). 3. Illustration taken from Ingber (1998) “The tensegrity model”. Madri and J. it flattens itself and its nucleus when it attaches to a rigid surface (left) and retracts into a spherical shape on a flexible substrate (right). mechanochemical transduction and morphogenetic regulation can be found elsewhere.D. For example. Jamieson a theory about the subject in 1981 (cf. 1993) Despite the fact that it was only a preliminary hypothesis.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. Like a living cell. 1998). and subsequently published with J. he added: “A discussion of how tensegrity may be used for information processing.13) Tensegrity model of a cell . some new discoveries have proved that the proposition is valid and mathematical formulations of the model predict many aspects of cell behaviour (Ingber. explains Ingber (ibid). In other publication.
14. as it is showed in fig 3. Oddou and Isabey (1999) proposed a quantitative analysis based on a theoretical model of a 29 element tensegrity structure5. According to Vesna (2000). Precedents and Key Students do not behave like viscous water balloons. but are physically connected by tensile filaments. Illustration taken from Lab (1998) 5 More recently. not only cells but also an incredibly large variety of natural systems are constructed following the tensegrity model: carbon atoms. proteins. and other living Springs model Illustration from Ingber (2003) creatures.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. behaviours under tension or compression. some studies strongly suggested that tensegrity have Diagram showing the role of tensegrity in heart functions. some other experts have been working on this hypothesis. thus. Wendling. Inberg (2003a) accepts flexible springs instead of rigid elements. studying its nonlinear mechanical behaviour under static conditions and large deformations. The only discordance with the established tensegrity principles is that. Ingber discovered that. it has been generated a tensegrity model composed of six rigid bars connected to a continuous network of 24 viscoelastic pre-stretched cables (Voigt bodies) in order to analyse the role of the cytoskeleton spatial rearrangement on the viscoelastic response of living adherent cells (Cañadas et al. Following this line of research. tissues. viruses. in contrast with other authors. which has been demonstrated by Andrew Maniotis recently. The same year. This configuration and use of materials confer different elasticities and. 2002) 32 . water molecules..
vitamins8. as a result.4.. To date. water molecules. So in a simplistic topological sense. 2003.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. 1997) 8 See Bibliography: Eckes et al.138) As a result. Some authors (Tsu et al. it seemed that while organic chemistry (cells. this can be used to build better new heterogeneous structures and substances. 2000) have been using the same theory applied to living cells with similar results and. widely rely on tensegrity. named like that after it was suggested that its structure is similar to that of a geodesic sphere. it has been discovered for example that the function of tensegrity in the transmission of endocrines in the heart is essential because it facilitates integration of force and strain changes from area to area (Lab. This leads to volume changes that appear to be experimentally corroborated by recent measurements. 1998). See fig. etc.. it is very interesting that. Precedents and Key Students implications for all types of cell transplants requiring cell isolation (Thomas et al. The composite structure is in a ‘‘prestressed’’ state where cables pull against rods in a multilateral relationship. the inorganic things seemingly do not have the benefits of this principle. the CRN is like a stiff rod. viruses. proteins9. carbon atoms6 or buckminsterfullerenes7. 33 . “Suppose for fun. 3. but this must be the aim of further research. 3. 6 7 See Bibliography: Ingber (1998) The buckminsterfullerenes or “bucky balls” are spherical groups of 60 carbon atoms (Carbon-60).... 11 CLOs: ‘‘chain-like objects’’. pollen grains. Yamada et al. 2000. 2003) have proposed a new tensegrity model for an amorphous silicone (a-Si:H) consisting of tensile and compressive agents that act to globally redistribute the effects of locally created defects.15. However.) holds sway. invented by Buckminster Fuller (Lu.” (Tsu et al. and the CLOs like flexible (but strong) cables. (1998) 9 See Bibliography: Zanotti and Guerra (2002) 10 CRN: continuous random network. and the CLOs11 the tensile role. pp. 1999). even inorganic substances can be based on floating compression. Other authors (Volokh et al. according to some new findings.3 Tensegrity in Inorganic Chemistry. we assign CRN10 the compressive role.
ligaments and tendons attach.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. some sources (Heller. as it would in a tensegrity model (…) We therefore can see in readily discernible anatomical studies that the tensegrity system is utilized in two of the major support joints of the body.4 Tensegrity in Anatomy. They claim that the skeleton is not just a frame of support to which the muscles. 2002. which will be exposed in next chapter. The entire support system of the upper extremity is a tension system being supported by the musculature interweaving the spine. tendons and bones in animals and humans.” (…) “External forces applied to the system are dissipated throughout it so that the "weak link" is protected. which deserves to be quoted in length: “We can examine the scapulothoracic articulation. Levin in the early 1980s.4. Wikipedia.” (Levin. especially. He focused his reflection in the system of the human spine. 1982) Tensegrity Thoracic Vertebrae Illustration taken from Levin (2002) The latter sentence refers to one of the main properties of tensegrity systems. thorax and upper extremity into a tension support system. when he wrote “Continuous Tension. The first reference to tensegrity in this subject was proposed by Stephen M. the capacity to distribute the forces. Meyers. to anatomy. 34 . 2004. but a set of compression components suspended within a continuous tension network. for example. It is very common to find the term “tensegrity” applied to biomechanics and. A Model for Biomechanical Support of the Body”. and indeed the remainder of the body. 2004) make use of the term to explain the relationship between muscles. could not be absorbed solely by the os calcis but have to be distributed—shock absorberlike—throughout the body. cited by Gordon. Discontinuous Compression. The scapula does not press on the thorax. In spite of having been used only as an example to illustrate the models. The forces generated at heelstrike as a 200 pound linebacker runs down the field. The clavicle has been traditionally recognized as acting more as a compression strut. Precedents and Key Students 3. the scapulothoracic and the sacroiliac joints.
from the point of view of some specialists. 35 . employed this principle as well.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 3. According to Wilken (2001). amoeboid protozoa that produce intricate mineral skeletons. because it connotes the two driving forces of the magical passes (Castañeda. something that was mentioned by Fuller 30 years before (Fuller. In next chapter. Finally. It has become a basic principle of Nature. 1996). Levin declared that the methane molecule. in order to make clear difference between each subject and to find out what are its main advantages and disadvantages. something else rather than just a spatial structure made of struts and strings. it can be concluded that floating compression is. tensegrity will be defined. described and characterized. and has been applied to so many fields of Science that it is perhaps loosing its main meaning. the sensory neurons are always sensing information (continuously pulling) while the motor neurons are only occasionally involved in some motor action (discontinuously pushing). Tensegrity has even been used to denominate the modernized version of some movements called “magical passes” (a series of meditative stretches. stances and movements) developed by Native American shamans. one of the simplest organic substances. Precedents and Key Students Nevertheless. 1961). it has been recently proposed that the central nervous system also functions as a tensegrity. has in itself the physical shape and properties of a continuous tension-discontinuous compression structure. He also observed that radiolaria. In summary.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4 Definitions and Basic Principles .
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Chapter 4. Definitions and Basic Principles
Chapter 4. Definitions and Basic Principles
4.1. Introduction. For so many years, some authors have been trying to find a “definitive definition” of tensegrity, which is unambiguous and accepted by the whole scientific community. It is essential to specify precisely what a tensegrity structure is because, depending on the different definitions, we will be able to consider some kinds of structures as real or false tensegrities. As was mentioned in previous chapters, there are a lot of cases where the term “tensegrity” is being used incorrectly to denominate any type of structure based on compressed and tensioned components. Obviously, this is a mistake, as tensegrity is a very distinct principle. As an illustrative and peculiar example, two very curious patents will be mentioned: the “Female condom employing tensegrity principle” (Glenn and Tam, 2002) and the “Sports catch glove with stiffner” (Goldsmith, 1998)
. Of course, none of them is really a tensegrity application at all. In chapter 6, more
examples of false tensegrity will be shown which relate to such applications.
4.2. Definitions. In order to show the evolution of the analysis of these systems, different definitions will be explored in a chronological order. The first descriptions, which were explained in the chapter 2, were given by the authors of the patents, trying to describe what they had discovered. Obviously,
Both patents are referred to in Appendix C.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Chapter 4. Definitions and Basic Principles
in those days it was very difficult to generalise and find a complete definition that could summarise such a complex entity as tensegrity. In the article called Tensegrity, Buckminster Fuller (1961) explained very profusely the principles and main concepts that govern the tensional-integrity systems, but he did not give any precise definition. In his patent, he describes this kind of structures as “a plurality of discontinuous compression columns arranged in groups of three nonconjunctive columns connected by tension elements forming tension
triangles” (Fuller, 1962, p.1). However, he gives a very short explanation, which has been passed to the annals of the history of tensegrity: “The
Some Fuller’s tensegrities
Illustration taken from Fuller (1975b)
compression elements become small
islands in a sea of tension” (ibid). Some years later, he wrote in Synergetics an extended explanation:
“Tensegrity describes a structural-relationship principle in which structural shape is guaranteed by the finitely closed, comprehensively continuous, tensional behaviors of the system and not by the discontinuous and exclusively local compressional member behaviors” (1975b, 700.011)
The other “father” of tensegrity, David G. Emmerich, declared in his patent that his invention could be further described in a non-limitative manner with reference to several examples, shown by accompanying drawings. In this way, he avoided the difficult task of giving a strict description.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Chapter 4. Definitions and Basic Principles
Perhaps Kenneth Snelson is clearer in his definition. In his patent, he explained:
“The present invention relates to structural framework and more particularly, to a novel and improved structure of elongate members which are separately placed either in tension or in compression to form a lattice, the compression members being separated from each other and the tension members being interconnected to form a continuous tension network.” (1965, p.1)
prefers to call them “Floating compression structures”, he
describes them as follows (thus collaborating with the previous description):
“Tensegrity describes a closed Snelson with a double planar structure structural system composed of a set Illustration donated by the artist to the author. of three or more elongate compression struts within a network of tension tendons, the combined parts mutually supportive in such a way that the struts do not touch one another, but press outwardly against nodal points in the tension network to form a firm, triangulated, prestressed, tension and compression unit.” (Snelson, 2004)
Additionally, as mentioned in previous chapters, he made a very clear distinction:
“Tensegrity structures are endoskeletal prestressed structures -- and that restriction leaves out endless numbers of items”.2
Some years later, Anthony Pugh gave the following characterisation of tensegrity, which has been accepted almost universally by the rest of the specialists, due to its well adapted constitution for an extended definition, possibly the first one of its kind:
“A tensegrity system is established when a set of discontinuous compressive components interacts with a set of continuous tensile components to define a stable volume in space” (1976, p.3).
Kenneth Snelson: excerpt from an e-mail to the author, 3 Aug 2004. See Appendix D.
Therefore. he labelled tensegrities as rigid structures made of discontinuous rods in compression and continuous cords in tension in which each component has one degree of member redundancy.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. to which a state of prestress is imposed that imparts tension to all cables”.” (pp. Definitions and Basic Principles It was not until the 90s that Schodeck (1993) realized that a definition based on redundancies and degrees of movement may be a better description than the ambiguous notions formulated at that moment.g. any free-standing pin-jointed cable networks composed of building units that satisfiy aforesaid definition. being a Class k tensegrity structure if at most “k” compressive members are connected to any node. Bin-Bing Wang (1998) went beyond the previous definition.. the state of 39 . free-standing pin-jointed networks. While Miura and Pellegrino (cited in Tibert. in which the cables or tendons are tensioned against a system of bars or struts”. “as well as imparting tension to all cables. adding later. Kanchanasaratool and Williamson (2002) state that a tensegrity system is a stable connection of axially-loaded members. 2003) is the following: “Tensegrity systems are free-standing pin-jointed cable networks in which a connected system of cables are stressed against a disconnected system of struts and extensively. 2002) gave a narrower interpretation: “A tensegrity structure is any structure realised from cables and struts. identifying other important characteristics: tensegrity structures are self-supporting and rigidified by self-stressing (something that had already been advanced by Emmerich and Kenneth). 93) There are further and more complex definitions depending on the perspective of the authors. a traditional tensegrity structure is a class 1 structure because only one compression member makes a node. Ariel Hanaor described tensegrity structures as “internally prestressed. The wider definition given by Wang and Li (1998. E.
in compression and in tension). it has components (two kinds. All their elements have a straight middle fibre and are of equivalent size. but has additional factors: the compressed elements are included inside the continuous set in tension. As a result.3. René Motro suggests the following: “Extended definition: Tensegrity system is a system in a stable self-equilibrated state comprising a discontinuous set of compressed components inside a continuum of tensioned components.” Finally.19) 4. René Motro (2003) tried to distinguish two different concepts. and the system has self-equilibrium stability.” (p. Tensioned elements have no rigidity in compression and constitute a continuous set.” (p. relational structure (between the different components). 40 . thus providing ?rst-order sti?ness to its in?nitesimal mechanisms. Each node receives one and only one compressed element. He makes the distinction between the “patent based” and the “extended” definition. Definitions and Basic Principles prestress serves the purpose of stabilising the structure.18) The other description. The first one is established on the basis of patents (see preceding definitions and Appendix B). has some common points with Pugh’s’ definition. total structure (associating relational structure with characteristics of components) and form (projected on to a three-dimensioned referenced system). It would also be possible to state the following. it is possible to distinguish true and false tensegrity due to their respective characteristics. as Motro suggests: System: In relation to the theory of systems. as all three describe the same structure: “Patent based definition: Tensegrity systems are spatial reticulate systems in a state of selfstress. Compressed elements constitute a discontinuous set.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. the extended one. General Characteristics If this last definition is accepted as being sufficiently comprehensive and concise to define the term.
a cable. the action lines lying on the boundary surface are tension lines. It is stable even in orbit. and a compressed element is inside when the points between its ends do not belong to the boundary (or envelope). etc. Motro defines a system as one of tensegrity when all its compressed components are inside the system. an air volume.4 as examples: 41 . with different “insides” and “outsides”. such as the torus. it is independent of external forces (even gravity) or anchorages due to its self-stress initial state. and the tensioned components are creating an “ocean” of continuous tension. where this role is played by the tension. See the models of next figs. and self-equilibrated because it doesn’t need any other external condition. an assembly of elementary components.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. Compressed or tensioned components: instead of compression and tensile components. Thus. Definitions and Basic Principles Stable self-equilibrated state: Stable because the system can reestablish its equilibrium after a disturbance.3 & 4. it can be a strut. in a tensegrity system. In order to avoid controversial systems. Inside: This is a crucial point since it will permit the differentiation of two sorts of structures: the conventional. Continuous tension and discontinuous compression: because the compressed components must be disconnected. 4. a membrane. because the key is that the whole component has to be compressed or tensioned depending on its class. Components: in contrast to the term “element”. and the tensegrities. where compression is the basis of the load support.
6). Thus. and. Model built by the author. as a pure or as a false tensegrity. Definitions and Basic Principles Octahedron . Expanded octahedron Model built by the author. This last characteristic could possibly seem superfluous for people who are not very familiar with these structures. since it has a compression ring surrounding the net of cables and struts. the “Georgia Dome” in Atlanta (see figs. as it was explained in the previous chapter. this is the point that allows us. Some purists don’t consider that it belongs to this type of structure. in the boundary of the system. for example. Georgia Dome Illustration taken from Setzer (1992) Georgia Dome Illustration taken from Setzer (1992) 42 . consequently. Nevertheless. to consider the biggest dome in the world.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. in their opinion it is in the range of pre-stressed systems as a “cable dome” and not as a “tensegrity dome”. 4.5 & 4.
it has been accepted that tensegrity is a new and very particular structural principle. Main Concepts. so the continuities of stress were basically compressive. In a concrete. How can they be in that position only attached by the wires? 4. but the actual shape of the dome is responsible for maintaining its stability. One of its unique aspects is the surprising and not always understood equilibrium of islanded struts floating in the air. they are made as a “system of equilibrated omnidirectional stresses” (Kenner. the only thing to do is to reinforce the weak points. 43 .1. Furthermore. Definitions and Basic Principles 4. 1987). the tension created by the attraction of the Earth is replaced by the multidirectional tension of their members. the technique of construction and the philosophy of building have been very simple: everything was held in place by weight. each component of a stone dome is pulled by tension “downward” through the structure. Instead of the “weight and support” strategy. wood or steel dome.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. so they are not depending on gravity factors for their own equilibrium. they do not have to be supported as they are self-equilibrated and pre-stressed. Moreover. the weight is much lower because we distinguish between “skin” and “bones”. but the compressive continuity is still in charge of sustaining most of the load. After this consideration. Until the last century. Basic Principles Since the mid 20th Century. Tensegrity structures are based on a completely different approach. “In fact. 1976). tension must be primary” (Edmonson. Fuller (1975b) affirms that the example of Nature shows that tension must be included in every design since the beginning of its conception. For instance.4.4.
).2. In fact. the main members will be struts and cables.4. when we deal with proper tensegrities. Snelson and Von Baeyer. seeking for analogies in order to understand their principles in a clearer way. 1975b. Burkhardt. Some analogies. for compression and tension respectively. Kenner. people have been looking for mechanical and structural explanations. For 50 years. The most common of them has been the comparison between tensegrity and pneumatic structures. 44 . selfbalanced. 2004) admit that inflatable constructions are tensegrities because they are self-equilibrated systems composed by an exterior tensile component which embraces the atoms of gas behaving as discontinuous components in compression (cf. several authors (Fuller. Edmonson. 1989. so pneumatics are only an extension of the proper definition. 1976. Nevertheless. 1961. Analogy of the balloon Illustration drawn by the author. Both. 4. 1982. elastic. are compressible. 1976. In this research. since the birth of the floating compression. Definitions and Basic Principles 4. Motro. Pugh. we consider the compressed components other than air or gas.7. fig. expandable. 1987. lightweight and local-load-distributing structures.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. 2003. tensegrities and pneumatics.
Nonetheless. as he thought it inaugurated a new era of thinking in terms of comprehensive tensions and discontinuous compression.3. 4. applied on the hub. which works in traction (cf.a). so the horizontal spokes keep it from deforming (cf. while the whole rim stays in compression.8. According to Francis (1980). 45 .3 and 3. fig. gravity is also secondary in terms of stability in the wire wheel. As for pneumatics and tensegrity. The effect is that the rim tries to belly out.b). Fuller turned to this example very often. is hung up from the spokes at the top. in fact. the main load-transfer system of the wire wheel is not the forces of compression supported by the vertical spokes of the bottom. as a result. fig. “cycle wheel” roofs appeared on a huge scale (e.3. In contrast to general opinion. Definitions and Basic Principles As a consequence.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4.8.g. the roof of the Leningrad Sports Palace) and have been improved in recent times as shown in paragraphs 4. the second analogy applied to explain the fundamental concepts of tensegrity is the comparison with the wire wheel (also mentioned in chapter 3). the axle load of wheel. 4.. during the 1960s and 70s there was much development in pre-stressed steel construction and. Analogy of the wire wheel Illustration drawn by the author.
This antique toy is simply based on two crossed sticks with a tensioned string around it. Due to the complexity of such an interesting type of structure. It is not a coincidence that Snelson achieved his first tensegrity sculpture (see photo #3 of Appendix A) from kite-like modules out of plywood. Moreover. which can’t be considered tensegrity because the two rods in compression are touching each other in the middle of the kite. 1981).4. Generation of the Simplex Snelson. his patent (see Appendix B) employed X-shaped modules to generate several masts of continuous tension-discontinuous compression and to explain the generation of the simplest tensegrity structure: the “Simplex”. the kite (Coplans. The Creation of the Simplest Configurations. 4.3. probably. This is basically a two-dimensional structure. The most primitive case of stressed structures is not the wire wheel but. 1967. joining the four extremes defined by them.9). 4. Fox. “Elementary Equilibrium” or “ThreeStruts T-Prism” (cf. Definitions and Basic Principles and consistent with the previous quote by Snelson. and because it does not exhibit very intuitive principles. Illustration taken from Snelson (1965) 46 . fig. they can’t be judged as tensegrities.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. maybe it is better to explain the generation of the easiest tensegrity designs.
4. 4. although designed by the author in a more developed graphic.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. Figure 4. 4. if we join the two ends of the rope by a third pole and we add 4 more strings as in fig.01 Tensegrity Behavior”. Finally. the support of the trees can be substituted by fixing the ends of the rope to the ground (fig.c). He explained it by means of evolution of a system consisting of a single clothesline attached to two trees and supported in the mid way by two poles. so they have to be attached to the ground (fig. Definitions and Basic Principles Hugh Kenner (1976) obtained the “Simplex” from a different approach. When the two poles are very oblique. although he does not make reference to Fuller’s diagram that appeared in Synergetics. his explanation is inspired in the “Fig.10 illustrates his main idea. we obtain the stable and self-sufficient “Symplex”. Kenner’s derivation of the “Simplex” Illustration drawn by the author. 47 .d).e. With the rods in this position. a tent without centre-pole has been originated. there is the risk of sliding.10. 712. perfectly stable.10.10. In such a situation.
and fix this situation by attaching two tendons to the ground (fig.4.11. 4. 4. when we fix two of its corners to the ground. Equilibrium Analysis.11. we push the other two corners as in fig. 4. ground. Beginning with a kite-like module (fig. which are in contact at their middle point.11. Finally. Definitions and Basic Principles In addition to this latter explanation and to Snelson’s description. it is less difficult to have an idea of the 48 .11.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. 4. graphically shown in fig.a). it is necessary to separate the two struts. 4. Once it has been described how a very simple example of tensegrity can be set up.b). 4. we add the third pole between these two points and tie its ends to the corners of the kite lying on the Author’s derivation of the “Simplex” Illustration drawn by the author. and we know its basic design.c. So.11.4. the author dares to add another method to create the “Elementary Equilibrium”. As pointed out above. in order to consider this configuration as tensegrity. we can remove the string between them (fig.d).
To understand the self-equilibrating behaviour of continuous tensiondiscontinuous compression systems.3. Each vertex must be in equilibrium in order to provide the whole structure with stability. 1993).Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. it is necessary to develop a static analysis of the tension and compression forces acting on each node (Schodeck. 49 . This is also remarked by Snelson: “I know I need a minimum of three wires on any end of any stick” (Snelson and Von Baeyer. in each end of the strut we Set of forces acting on a strut.12 serves as an illustration of the static forces involved in this kind of analysis. added to the relatively small weight of each component. Definitions and Basic Principles major principles that govern it. The resultant of each triad of forces at each node.1 and shown in fig. i. Each strut is acted upon by the tension of the cords. 2 of Emmerich´s patent in Appendix B). 1989). Sometimes a mechanical study can be very complex because of the geometry and number of elements of the structure.e. there is a three-dimensional equilibrium of tensions and compressions at each node. The figure 4. has to be in line with the axis of the strut. because otherwise the rod would be affected by a bending moment and would not be in equilibrium. Illustration drawn by the author should have at least three cables attached to the node (the conditions of stability of posts supported by only two cables was explained in paragraph 3. and it is usually necessary to use computer programs to accomplish this task. As it is a three-dimensional system.
each string is in equilibrium if it is put under a Set of forces acting on a cable. what structural space really looks like” (Schneider. particular tension. which is usually a pretensioning force. tension and compression. for the very first time. According to Calladine (1978). the other two cables in each node. and where there is 3 Sometimes they are attached to a node responsible for joining a set of cables. there is pure compression. A particularity of tensegrity structures is that the forces acting on them are visible in a sense. For instance. rediscovered by Maxwell. having j joints. at least. 50 . in a tensegrity structure the two types of forces in essence. some tensegrity structures have fewer struts than are needed to satisfy Maxwell's rule. 1977). but are actually rigid structures. In other words. Clerk Maxwell showed that b bars assembled into a frame. However. As a consequence. and are not "mechanisms" as it could be expected. Definitions and Basic Principles The same reasoning could be applied to the wires (fig. are completely separated and you can see them in their pure state. Illustration drawn by the author It should be noted that the equilibrium conditions of the continuous tension-discontinuous compression systems were already anticipated by Möbius and.13). but it is not very usual. Where there is a strut. after thirty years. Snelson affirms about his sculptures: “I am showing you. which are attached to the ends of two struts 3 and influenced by. would be simply stiff if b = 3j. He also predicted that their stiffness will "be of a low order" and permit at least one state of "self-stress" in the frame. 4.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4.6.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. 1976). as for example tensegrity grids are heavier than conventional structural grids. with their main advantages and disadvantages. They don’t depend on gravity due to their self-stability. Features. 4. they have a high resistance in comparison to other structures with similar weight. The systems are stable in any position. They have no redundant parts. In the following pages. Because of the complexity of the subject. Wang (2003) states that this characteristic is not inherent. they will be described. make it possible to accept the assumption that they have very special characteristics. The force of gravity. Tension and compression always coexist. 4. although new tendons can be added to consolidate the structure. basis of the conventional architecture. there is pure tension 4. 1977) 4 Fuller and Edmonson argue that there is neither pure tension nor pure compression members. it is more suitable to refer the reader to the bibliography. or if preferred. but members “at the high tide” of a compressional aspect. chapter 3. so they don’t need to be anchored or leaned on any surface.5. The precise and detailed configuration of the “floated compression” structures. Definitions and Basic Principles a cable. 51 . It is not the aim of the present work to explain in depth the extended laws that govern the finite and infinitesimal mechanisms of tensegrity. is nullified (Perlberg. (Kenner.5. especially to Motro (2003). Properties: They are very lightweight in comparison to other structures with similar resistance.1. In contrast.
The compression is located in specific and short lines of action. If the self-stressing is higher in a tensegrity system. 4. The majority of tensegrity systems are enantiomorphic. This means that they exist as right and left-handed mirror pairs. “dextrorse” and “sinistrorse” respectively (Kenner. 1976. 1976).14. grids or conglomerates made of the same or different figures. Using the analogy of the balloon.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. its load-bearing capacity is higher too. Definitions and Basic Principles Right-handed and Left-handed Simplex Illustration drawn by the author. The degree of tension of the pre-stressed components is proportional to the amount of space that they occupy (Muller. so they are not subject to high buckling loads. they only work locally. For an illustration. 1976. As the components in compression are discontinuous. Pugh. the tension forces in the skin are greater and it is harder to deform it (Pugh. Elemental tensegrity modules can be joined in order to create masts. 52 . 1971). see fig. if a balloon is more inflated. Snelson 2004).
1976). and by their method of assembly. They can be very flexible or very rigid and quite strong.00166% (600 times less!). 4. that uses compression and tension. Tensegrity is the answer to the question: "What's the minimal structure that can support a weight and oppose horizontal forces. the tendons stretch “Expanded octahedron” or “Icosahedron” Illustration drawn by the author.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4.15). 1996) They have the property of synergy where the behaviour of the whole systems is not predicted by the behaviour of any of their components taken separately. Levin. Definitions and Basic Principles Due to this discontinuity in compression. but experiences no torque?” (Fuller. Elasticity inherent multiplication to them: is When separating two struts by a certain distance. 82) The resilience (flexibility) or stiffness of the structure depends on the materials employed. For an 53 . in the expanded octahedron (fig. if the struts are separated by 1%. so local stresses are transmitted uniformly and absorbed throughout the structure. (Fuller. For example. 75. the stretching of the tendons is much less than this amount. (Kenner. cited in Flavin. 0. They have the ability of respond as a whole. (Vesna 2000) Due to the previous characteristic. they are very sensitive to vibrations under dynamic loads. they don’t suffer torque at all. so the whole system has the capacity to multiply the elasticity of the tendon by 600 times.
Tensional forces naturally transmit themselves over the shortest distance between two points. experience a rotation around this axe (Kenner. so the members of a tensegrity structure are precisely positioned to best withstand stress. so there are no points of local weakness. tensegrity demonstrates ephemeralisation. In Vesna’s and Fuller´s words (2000). The direction of this rotation depends on the handedness of the system (enantiomorphic characteristic explained above). 1998). 2004). Smaili.5.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. under axial load. Wang 2003). Some tensegrities. They don’t suffer any kind of torque or torsion. 4. Definitions and Basic Principles example. offering a maximum amount of strength for a given amount of building material (Ingber. The fact that these structures vibrate readily means that they are transferring loads very rapidly. but their stiffness increases rapidly as the load is higher. it is possible to use materials in a very economical way. (Kenner. like a suspension bridge (Kenner. so the loads cannot become local. 2003. This is very useful in 54 . or the capability of doing more with less. Advantages: The multidirectional tension network encloses fortuitous stresses where they take place. Perhaps.2. Snelson. the deflection of the expanded octahedron modelled by cables and beams finite elements (Mijuca. They are more flexible under light loads. The response to the loads is non linear. 1997). 1976. 1976) Due to the ability to respond as a whole. 1976. and buckling is very rare due to the short length of their components in compression. ‘ethereal’ is more adequate than ‘ephemeral’. can be seen in Appendix E.
(Holland) Illustration taken from Snelson (2004) 55 . they would be desirable in areas where earthquakes are a problem. 1971). since the structure is self-scaffolding (Whelan. Definitions and Basic Principles terms of absorption of shocks and seismic vibrations (Smaili. For large tensegrity constructions. which are stable by themselves. Thus. This conception implies the option of the endless extension of the assembled piece (Muller. 1981). 2003). Easy-K Installation Snelson in 1970. The spatial definition of individual tensegrity modules. Further explanations will be provided in the next chapter. 4.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. Arnhem.16. the process would be relatively easy to carry out. permits an exceptional capacity to create systems by joining them together. An example is the illustration of fig.
domes. “relatively high deflections and low material efficiency. In spite of this evidence. the struts start running into each other. 1987. 2002).5. 2004) The inadequate design tools have been a limitation until now. Consequently.3. In foldable systems. Definitions and Basic Principles Burkhardt (1994-2004) sustains that the construction of towers. very economical. The kinematic indeterminacy of tensegrities is sometimes an advantage. only a small quantity of energy is needed to change their configuration because the shape changes with the equilibrium of the structure. 4. (Burkhardt.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. Kenner (1976) proposed shell analysis as the best way. bridges. after experimental research. employing tensegrity principles will make them highly resilient and. the arc length of a strut decreases). that as the connections between struts and tendons are pinned joints. as compared with conventional. Skelton and Sultan have explored the use of tensegrity structures as sensors and actuators (Tibert. although this is a bit distant from structural reality. Disadvantages: According to Hanaor (1997) tensegrity arrangements need to solve the problem of bar congestion. which can lead to problems in production. pp. Spherical and domical structures are complex. The same author stated. etc. For 56 . at the same time. the design and calculation of these figures was relatively simple. 45) The fabrication complexity is also a barrier for developing the floating compression structures. incorrectly. Pugh (1976) estimated. geometrically rigid structures” (Hanaor. There was a lack of design and analysis techniques for these structures. As some designs become larger (thus.
Burkhardt has been working on a computer program that. 1993). works well enough to design and calculate tensegrities.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 4. has been developed by René Motro and his group at the Laboratoire de Génie Civil in Montpellier. which could be difficult in larger-size constructions (Schodeck. Burkhardt. In order to support critical loads.5 And recently new software. 57 . 5 See Appendix D: Personal correspondence with Robert W. the pre-stress forces should be high enough. Definitions and Basic Principles the past ten years. “Tensegrité 2000”. seemingly.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5 Typologies. classification and assemblies .
1. . “(3.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5. based on the definition of the geometry by means of basic and systematic rules. colons and comas in brackets.9. . at same time. but at present there are some discrepancies among the authors and specialists. “twist element”. “3 struts T-prim”. PM) tensegrity structures consisting of N compression members (i. Typologies.1)” and so on. struts) and S tensile members 58 . As a result. “3 struts single layer”. At present. 9 tendons”. the author has come across a couple. denominate and categorize in order to develop a complete and extensible classification of the subject in question.. “elementary equilibrium”. The former considers a general class of (N. 5.. Tensegrity systems are not an exception. Nomenclature It has been stated throughout previous chapters that the definitions for the highlighted examples are not categorised in a standard way. Typologies. Other known systems are not excluded from these circumstances.2. some authors have tried to create a definitive nomenclature. the simplest tensegrity system has already been denominated as “simplex”. Williamson and Whitehouse (2000) employ just numbers. while Motro (2003) uses numbers and letters in intuitive way. P1. This would permit the categorisation of floating compression systems and. would give enough information about them. classification and assemblies Chapter 5. S. “3 struts. P2. which is clear and systematic. it is essential to describe. For instance. which are very logical and similar. classification and assemblies When developing a new field of knowledge.e.
g. Finally. 5. a variant of these systems. The structure has M stages with PM struts per stage.2. Moreover. 5.2. proposed by Kono and other experts. the author will adopt Motro’s nomenclature to describe and denominate the cited tensegrities.2) would be (3. Typologies.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5. SS = Spherical system (homeomorphic to a sphere) if this is the case For instance. thus sometimes it is necessary to define the number of nodes explicitly. In conclusion. in order to truncate it to transform it into a dome) or is irregular and non spherical. As an illustration.3). Classification It is probable that the first classification of tensegrities was carried out by 59 . The author finds several advantages of the latter in comparison to the former.b & 2.2).9. would be expressed as “n6-S3-C9-R-SS”. the “simplex” (fig. uses nodes where only cables are jointed. C = Cables or tensile components. classification and assemblies (i. in some cases it is essential to know whether the system is regular and inscribed in a sphere (e.2. the last example. explaining each term with the initials followed by the number of items. being listed: n = Nodes. In any case. Sometimes it is difficult to make a distinction between the different stages that compose a continuous tension-discontinuous compression system. R = Regular system or I = Irregular system depending on the case. The latter organizes them following an alphanumeric code. 5.e. the nomenclature is not very useful when speaking about the most common figures. S = Struts or compressed components. cables).b & 2. the “elementary equilibrium” (fig.
orientated along geodesic lines or minimal spherical paths (Ingber. It is true that he did it almost exclusively related to polyhedra. the latter finds equilibrium as a result of the triangulation of its structural members. Finally. Structural Systems for the Future” (2003). Armstrong. 2004). Then. etc. but so far the author has only come across a general division into two broad structural classes: prestressed and geodesic tensegrities. all cables can be mapped on a sphere without intersections between them and all the struts are inside 60 . 2003a. 5. Typologies. he related the way of joining systems together and the construction of larger figures.1. This classification was based on the relative position of the struts of the figures.2. but it is still very helpful. Circuit pattern and Zigzag pattern. on the number of layers or stages. To achieve a clearer classification it could be useful to have an account of some other configurations and geometries.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5.1. Spherical systems These systems are homeomorphic to a sphere. First. e. on the complexity of the compressed components (single elements or groups of struts). but not in an in-depth manner. Anthony Pugh (1976) was the first person to show a thorough catalogue of tensegrity systems. he described the simplest figures superficially (both 2D and 3D). masts and domes were described. depending on the relative position of their tendons (passing through their centres or not). The former is self-stable since there is a pre-existing tensile stress or isometric tension. classification and assemblies Fuller and his collaborators.g. he described the three basic patterns that can be used to configure spherical or cylindrical tensegrity structure: Diamond pattern. Some of the following points are based on chapter 4 of Motro’s book “Tensegrity. as is explained in fig. 5. In that section some grids.
a). fitting the following classification: 5.1.a). T-Prisms or Prismatic tensegrities are generated from a straight prism where the cables are horizontal or vertical and the struts are diagonal between the vertices of the two different levels (fig. The name of these types of figures responds to the way that they are constructed.1. classification and assemblies this cable net creating a spherical cell. Typologies. a tensegrity prism is obtained (fig. If a relative rotation is intoduced between the upper and lower polygons. 5. They are some of the most common floating compression figures. This corresponds to the Diamond Pattern established by Pugh. 5. 5. Classification of Spherical Systems Illustration drawn by the author after Pugh’s drawings. Each strut of a rhombus system represents the longest diagonal of a rhombus formed by four other cables. Rhombic configuration.2. 61 .b).1.2. Tensegrity prisms (T-Prisms) are included in this section.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5.2. folded following the diagonal (fig.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5. In any case and according to Pugh (1976). but other figures can be built by adding more stages and thus creating a kind of cylindrical rhombic system (cf. Tobie in 1967: a = 90º .180º/n For instance. for. classification and assemblies Kenner (1976) states that the rotation angle (a).3) The most known exemplars of the rhombic configuration are the “simplex” and the “expanded octahedron” (also so-called “icosahedric tensegrity”). Typologies. in a pentagon a=54. 5.2. 62 . in a square configuration a=45º. and so on. Each prismatic tensegrity system comprises of a single layer of struts. depends on the number of struts (n=number of edges of the polygon) and is given by the formula demonstrated by Roger S. Generation of T-Prims Illustration drawn by the author after Pugh’s drawings. paragraph 5. the less stable and more flexible is the T-Prism. or “twist angle”. the higher the number of struts. a triangular prim a=30º (cf.2). fig. in a hexagon a=60º.
5.1. defining a grid of triangles for each face.2 & 2. was designed using 672 struts and 1344 tendons. 5. snub icosidodecahedron.4. e. Several regular and semi- regular polyhedra can be built related to this class.a. parallel two by two (cf.2.1. the cuboctahedron is composed of four circuits of three struts (every circuit interweaving with each other) and the cables defining the edges of the polyhedron. 2004). the eight-frequency truncated tetrahedron. 5. Typologies. etc.c). Moreover. In this second class. and then sketching the struts and tendons onto the grid (Armstrong. As can be seen in the fig. 5.2.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5.3. due to its three pairs of struts.g.b & 5. “Circuit” configuration. cube. classification and assemblies The first one (n6-S3-C9-R-SS) has been shown in preceding graphics (figs.4. for instance. 4. Anthony Pugh gave a complete list of figures built following this method.2). circuit systems are also able to generate geodesic tensegrity spheres or domes if the breakdown frequency is a multiple of two. with a very strong symmetrical component. Cuboctahedron Illustration drawn by the author 63 . the compressed components are conformed by circuits of struts. figs. closing the rhombus generated by the struts and cables of the diamond pattern tensegrities (figs. snub cuboctahedron. 4. icosahedron.15 and Appendix E). 5. and the latter (n12-S6-C24-R-SS) is a typical two layer tensegrity system. the biggest tensegrity polyhedron described in that catalogue. The procedure consists of dividing the polyhedra in question following the rules of geodesic spheres.1.
d). 5. therefore.4.2.3. the “zigzag” configuration is obtained.1.4. the result is a “truncated tetrahedron” (fig. sometimes the figures do not have a perfect definition of the polyhedron in question. 5. Typologies. As Motro (2003) remarked. classification and assemblies According to Pugh’s experience. but it becomes more compact and there is contact between its compressed elements.b) Expanded octahedron Truncated Tetrahedron Illustration drawn by the author. It is important to remark that the substitution of the cables must be coherent in order to preserve the stability of the system. it is not always possible to attain a balanced geometry and. if some of the cables are changed in such a way that they form a ‘Z’ of three non aligned tendons (fig. if the configuration of an “expanded octahedron” (fig. Due to the orientation of the struts that converge in each 64 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5. 5. When using a rhombic system as a basis. This is understandable since the former evolves from the latter.1. “Zigzag” configuration or “Type Z”.a) is changed and the cables are fixed following the zigzag pattern. For instance. 5. a circuit system is more rigid than a rhombic one with the same number of struts.
Star systems Even though they are also spherical cells. additional cables can be inserted into the original system to obtain the perfect geometry. and subsequently closed all around itself again. a star system is created. Depending on the number of layers. Deployed Single Layer System (n8S4C12) Double Layers System (n16S8C32) Illustration drawn by the author. if a vertical strut is inserted in the centre following the main axis of symmetry and linked to the rest of the cables by means of tendons. Typologies. 5. 5. Another possibility could be proposed by inserting a small spherical node instead of the central strut. If the aim is to create a geodesic figure.5. 65 . taking as a basis one of the rhombic system. the process is similar to that of circuit systems. In any case. they are considered as a derivation of the preceding class. except that the breakdown frequency has to be a multiple of 3.2. the resulting tower will be more or less tall.a shows the deployed bunch of bars and tendons of a four-strut rhombic cell. For example. a cylindrical mast is obtained. Cylindrical systems There is also a variation of the rhombic configuration.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5. 5.b. 5. it can be appreciated that a certain distortion of the regular polygons can arise. obtained by adding other layers of struts to the initial layer. as is represented in fig. Fig.5.2. classification and assemblies face.3. If a second line is added.2.
5. For instance.3.2.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5. Typologies. 5. Vertical Masts (horizontal beams) One-dimensional systems can be generated by adding the different modules following an axis that rigidly dictates the geometry. the reason is the lack of resistance of these structures to bending moment. 5.1. Obviously. Assemblies More complex systems may be achieved by joining the elementary cells described above.2. classification and assemblies 5. a planar structure is created with advanced characteristics in relation to one-dimensional beams. Irregular systems In this section numerous figures are included that do not fit into previous classifications. Grids By assembling tensegrity cells in two dimensions. In the following sections some possibilities will be contemplated. although the cable-domes illustrated in previous chapters have improved this behaviour.4. Obviously.3. as will be explained in the next chapter. 66 . this performance is strongly dependent on the way the different modules are joined. although the list is not exhaustive. while contrarily not many floating compression beams have been regarded in such a way. a high percentage of Kenneth Snelson’s sculptures could be regarded as irregular structures since they are not governed by any rule defined in this or other studies. Several straight towers have been built over the years.3.
concluding for example that triangular grids are more rigid than square grids. They also recognised that those structures suffered large deflections and had low material efficiency compared with conventional rigid structures. producing symmetric configurations. or that the efficiency of material utilisation was similar in the three grids.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5. he started in the 1980s by studying the geometric configuration of double-layer tensegrity grids (DLTGs) by means of the Tprisms defined above (which generated planar surfaces) and T-pyramids (for curved surfaces). led by René Motro. classification and assemblies This is the reason why Ariel Hanaor’s works are a reference and guide for specialists in tensegrity structures. more general conclusions were obtained. producing unique configurations. Hanaor (1987) basically defined three types of connections: Type I – Modules share only nodes Type Ia . it has been accomplished since then and the main research has been carried out at the Laboratoire de Génie Civil in Montpellier. Typologies. it was stated that these grids had an overall good agreement in structural response and the major advantages of simple joints. several grids have been constructed attempting to avoid the lack of stiffness of the simple agglomeration of T-Prisms.Type I applied to odd-sided polygons (right handed and left-handed modules). However. 67 . Since 1998. producing unique configurations too (hexagonal T-Prism excepting) After these considerations. Type Ib . At that stage.Type I applied to even-sided polygons. Type II – Modules also share portions of the base polygons. several geometric studies and load tests were carried out by him and other collaborators. Further investigation was required.
classification and assemblies Vinicius Raducanu. based his research on points of view such as analogy. Typologies. who worked on the Tensarch Project at Montpellier. applied to different geometries: bi-. the “V expander” (fig. certainly the simplest one (an extension of the module shown in fig. geometry. was built at the end of 2000. tri. presented in Appendix C. Montpellier Illustration drawn by the author 68 .6).7). The group used the same mechanical principle. covering 82m2 and weighting 900 kg. topology. V expander Illustration taken from Motro and Bernard (2002) A prototype of a bi-directional layout. Bi-dimensional double-layer grid Laboratoire de Mécanique et Génie Civil. Raducanu and Motro (2001) patented the system. This steel structure was constructed according the Eurocode3 building standard for a 160daN/m2 external downward load. 5.and quadri-directional tensegrity grids. As a result. It therefore proved the feasibility of this kind of grid that had a surprising rigidity.5. etc.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5.
therefore. much of the future of floating compression relies on this significant characteristic. as it would take many chapters to explain the advantages. etc. discrete pneumatic structures and rigid enough depending on their function. classification and assemblies In every grid the extended definition given in chapter 4 is respected. At the moment they have not been applied in any definite field. possibilities and potentials of deployable tensegrities.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5.4. Deployable structures Without any doubt. because the compressed components are not the single struts but the frames and chains of bars composed in between the two layers. 5. As a conclusion. so they have a three-dimensional shape. They are tensegrity solids without any predominant direction. Typologies. It is not the aim of this work to deal with this subject in depth. Motro and his collaborators stated that tensegrity grids are feasible. In fact. adaptive. roofs. they proposed their application to walls (allowing the insertion of integrated architectural systems). coverings. it is necessary to mention these systems although they have been barely studied. folding tensegrity structures have been one of the main research topics for the past ten years. Conglomerations Finally.3. the field of application of these systems has been extended noticeably. 69 .3. 5. In fact. The author considers that it is more suitable to refer to an extended bibliography (Appendix I) which mentions the main specialists that are dealing with the subject. solid.
Illustration taken from Smaili (2003) 70 . 1997. Once again. Other experts have done recent research in foldable floating compression structures. Knight et al. Hanaor. 2003)..2.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 5. 2000.Y. Smaili (2003). Bouderbala). paragraph 6. R. H. some of the results have been patented and are referred to in chapter 6. Stern.E. Folding Mechanisms. making an almost exhaustive revision of all the options that these systems offer and of all their potentials (fig. Raducanu and M. Indeed. Typologies. V. Skelton.g. A. Ali El Smaili.6). 2003) have been very useful from the point of view of deployable masts and other structures disposed for the conquest of Space (cf. Appendix C and in the bibliography (Skelton.E. 5. Pak. rotation translation and shear. Cancelling the prestress: Local suppression and global suppression Maintaining the prestress: Rotation-rotation. e. classification and assemblies Pellegrino and Tibert’s works (1991. Furuya and H. the research of René Motro and his laboratory is extremely important (especially A.8).E.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6 Applications and proposals .
Schodek (1993). of the struts in compression. is really convinced about the unfeasibility of applying these structures to any architectural or engineering construction. Applications and proposals Chapter 6. As Snelson wrote to the author: 71 . He refers to Mario Salvadori’s opinion about tensegrity Vs conventional beams. It should be recalled that. First. both the “real” and the “false” tensegrity structures. It might be interesting to note that some professionals. Once the basic fundaments and basic systems have been described. 6. due to the limitations of time. the most important examples of works already built will be presented.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. As soon as these examples are shown. simple elements or more complex structures. maybe the most important figure in the topic. for instance Daniel L. this point is controversial since even in the group of the “real” tensegrities there are “pure” and “non pure” floating compression systems. this does not mean that it has any special structural worth. and then he extrapolates this argument to other structures (see last paragraph of Appendix A). or not. software and infrastructures. these designs are not as developed and defined as professional works. depending on the contact. The sculptor Kenneth Snelson. according to the definitions of chapter 4. budget. Applications and proposals. In any case. this chapter will deal with the task of showing the applications of this material with exemplars.1. affirm that even though a tensegrity sculpture is a fascinating spatial exploration. Introduction. the author will present some of his own proposals to apply the continuous tension-discontinuous compression principle to architecture.
especially in his case. Even if Snelson’s opinions were true. while it can be applied to other fields as well” concluded M. However. As an illustration.” 2 Certainly. the Literary Digest predicts. (See Appendix D) 72 . like the possibility “to bridge the Grand Canyon with tensegrity” (ibid) or to cover a whole city with a geodesic dome. the most significant examples will be recalled. other men can make real”. 1 2 Kenneth Snelson: excerpt from an e-mail to the author. Fifty years of it now. articles and papers are being circulated in different journals and conferences. Jules Verne said “Anything one man can imagine. in 1899. claiming it will never “come into as common use as the bicycle”.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. 2003).” 1 “[They] are also very flexible and I know of no instance where they've been put to use for any practical purpose. 20 Jul 2004. and more than a few publications. it is true that some of the Fuller’s announcements and propositions seemed like humbugs. and according to the California Energy Commission (CEC. in the preface of Motro’s last book (2003). President of the IASS (International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures). it would not change the fact that numerous people are working in the subject. Kawaguchi. None have shown there is the slightest structural advantage in its use for such purposes. a “dim future for the automobile”. 3 Aug 2004. As you know many architects and engineers have worked toward that end and still do. Applications and proposals “It is my belief based on long experience and making endless numbers of tensegrity structures of all shapes and sizes that the principle in itself is impractical for building buildings. it is not the author’s intention to despise or disdain any suggestion. The author does not consider himself authorised to make severe judgements. In the following paragraphs. (See Appendix D) Kenneth Snelson: excerpt from an e-mail to the author. “Tensegrity is now applicable to architecture as an established structural system. and this is a great truth.
Figure 2. It is a really significant fact that he did not mention any tensegrity dome.2.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. 6. Perhaps.1. Domes. by Buckminster Fuller in 1953. as in one of Apex of Truncated Icosahedron Model made by the author 73 . (chapter 2) has shown one of the first geodesic tensegrity domes. Different proposals for domes Most of the works and studies in tensegrity have been done in relation to spherical or polyhedral configurations. Several authors have proposed different kinds of domes following the continuous tension-discontinuous compression fundaments. Actual examples. although he mentioned Fuller’s patents as well as Pugh and Kenner’s studies. attributable to the facility to obtain a dome from a sphere or spherical polyhedron (see Appendix G. Design and Construction of Braced Domes” edited by Z. Snelson has a definite opinion about this configuration. one of the most important books about domes is “Analysis. This point serves to illustrate the degree of recognition of these structural constructions. 6.1. According to Hanaor (1987). where the author shows possible truncations of a tensegrity truncated icosahedron).184.108.40.206. this concept can be applied to relatively small spans because if this is increased the curvature is also smaller and the components come into contact. Applications and proposals 6.S Makowski (1984).
In the example of fig. due to the absence of triangulation.2. In fact.1.3. loses an important factor for stability. It is this detail that Snelson pointed out and that the author took into account for the design of some domes in section 6. It was not based on polyhedra. it could barely hold itself up. he states that this truncated sphere is “as soft as a marshmallow”. 6. and in other e-mail he cites it again saying that.2. but on the x-shaped towers that he first discovered. but especially tensegrities.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. (See Appendix D) 74 . 23 Aug 2004. Applications and proposals his letters to the author3. but can be resolved by adding more wires between them and connecting other apexes of the dome. with the absence of triangulation. This situation is not very convenient. which refers to a construction puzzle that will be referred to in section 6. each apex is formed by five struts creating a pentagon of tendons... A different kind of dome using floating compression was the one shown by Kenneth Snelson in his patent of 1965. 3 Aug 2004. have the connections of the struts forming a polygon different of the triangle.7. “His tensegrity domes (. any structure.) are as shaky and floppy as a Tensegritoy” 4. each of the arches is formed by these towers Dome projected by Snelson Illustration taken from Snelson (1965) 3 4 Kenneth Snelson: excerpt from an e-mail to the author. Some of the domes obtained from truncated polyhedra. (See Appendix D) Kenneth Snelson: excerpt from an e-mail to the author.
as it was abandoned and never used for practical purposes. The structure was also very similar to the cable domes. fig. Obviously.4). due to the extreme length of their struts. 6. Stanley Black (1972) proposed a new configuration based on tensegrity trusses fixed to a peripheral rim. 6.3) where the tendons had been substituted by a plastic skin that took the role of the continuous tension component (cf. mutually strutted by straining pieces. one of them a relevant application.3. Anthony Pugh (1976) also proposed some interesting models. except that it was not fixed to a rigid and prestressed 75 . This was a geodesic tensegrity dome inspired by Fuller’s patent (1954) (cf. Motro 2003).Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. since it is a grid with one or several layers. using regular planes nets (single layer) which can be employed to produce curved surfaces with small curvature and hence. which can also induce the buckling of the bars. but it was the pioneer in the “wire wheel domes or cable domes. patented by Geiger ten years later.3. Some years later. it was not very successful. However. J. Miodrag Nesterovic (1987) published the project for a “Metallic Integrally Tensioned (Tensegrity) Cupola”. Oren Vilnay established a new concept. Applications and proposals bending adequately. Apart from his extensive list of models and configurations. a double network of prestressed cables. Detail of Fuller’s patent Illustration taken from Fuller (1954) In 1977. fig.2. The innovation cannot be considered a dome. as is explained in fig. large spans (Hanaor 1987. the author considers that these systems are not as spherical as desirable. The subject will not be developed here as it was the main point of section 3. 6.
who defined a dome made of tensegrity modules and built on a node-on-cable principle (Hanaor. Calculation of the load response In the latter study. As it was not self-stable. due to the internal prestress of 76 . At the same time. referred to in the previous chapter. 1996) have patented other types of tensegrity domes.1. which is constantly being revised. the member force analysis had been carried out by Burkhardt taking into account the endogenous factors. This was not the case for a proposal by Ariel Hanaor. the first double layer tensegrity grids. it is considered a “false tensegrity” like the rest of the domes. When generating a single or double curvature from them. but to two pin connections at different levels. In any case. Burkhardt’s research on this subject. 1990.2. were propounded by René Motro (1987). it is possible to obtain a space structure similar to a dome. Finally. Applications and proposals concrete ring. which are illustrated in the Appendix C.2. although their components in compression are in contact with each other. He considers double-layer domes.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. It is important to mention Robert W. the mechanical behaviour of these curved grids was not satisfactory enough. resulting in more sophisticated bi-dimensional assemblies of cells or double layer floating compression cupolas. Apart from his other work cited in the Bibliography. Those first studies were further developed in the Laboratoire de Génie Civil de l’Université de Montpellier. he started to develop “A Technology for Designing Tensegrity Domes and Spheres” (1999-2004). 1987). Wesley. some other authors (Huegy. as well as additional wires in order to obtain the crucial triangulation that contributes to the stability of the structures. They can be perfectly judged as tensegrities. where an outer and an inner layer of cables are inter-connected by bars. 6.
2. The following are some of the possible applications that he points out. fig. Once the total geometry is defined. foundations. (cf. he computes the endogenous state by applying the Principle of Minimum Potential Energy. 1999. he first calculates the geometrical design of the structure. perhaps inspired by some of other Fuller’s ideas: 77 .1. Advantages and applications for domes Burkhardt (1999-2004) summarises the main advantages of tensegrity domes.2. 2003) have also thought about this point for the considerations in folding tensegrity systems. Smaili. Motro. in other words.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. so the new configuration is derived by solving a system of equations rather than by solving the problem as before. The analysis of the response to exogenous forces is achieved by adding an independent force vector to the forces present at a hub. 2003. improved rigidity.3. In this study. Other authors (Le Saux at al. etc. Applications and proposals the structure itself. the distances separating the different elements of the structure. where positive and negative weights are used for tendon and strut lengths respectively. This is an important contemplation.9 of chapter 2) By means of a mathematical programme procedure. and the exogenous factors. extreme resilience. for instance: use of equal-length struts and simple joints. gravity. due to external loads. etc. the clearances in tensegrities are also considered. since the interferences can change the behaviour under loads. high lightness. It can be obtained by minimizing a weighted sum of the second powers of the lengths of the members. as well as generate bending moments in the struts. 6.
Applications and proposals Superstructures for embedded substructures in order to escape terrestrial confines where this is convenient (e. by Tony Armstrong-Jones (Lord Snowdon). have been made by Shelter Systems (1996-2001) and Daniel Ng (2001-2004). fig. flood plains or irregular. following the tensile skin domes projected by Pugh (see fig 6. delicate or rugged terrains). energy transformation and food production. Refugee or hiking shelters. Some similar proposals. Exclusion or containment of flying animals or other objects.4). The author proposes a comparable structure in the following section. Tensile skin dome Illustration from Shelter Systems (1996-2001) Snowdon Aviary Illustration taken from Ford (2004) Frames over cities for environmental control.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. archaeological. agricultural. 78 .5). electrical or electromagnetic shielding or other delicate sites. Economic large-scale protection for storage. similar to the Snowdon Aviary in London. in congested or dangerous areas. Cedric Price and Frank Newby (cf.g. urban areas. although some of their constructions are not pure tensegrity. construction. 6.
Following Frei Otto’s conceptions. which will be dealt with in detail below. frame and skin should have analogous flexibility. these structures are extremely resilient and testing would very likely show they could withstand large structural shocks like earthquakes. or topiary framework. Nevertheless. trade shows. Kenner (1976) pointed out the fact that both. indoor/outdoor pavilions for expositions. The author suggests another possibility: Portable and foldable structures: Due to the particular characteristics of tensegrity. domes using this principle could be very useful in: 79 . while Wang (2003) estimates very opportunely the necessity of dynamic analysis to explore the mechanical properties further. A more unadventurous catalogue of applications can be found in Ariel Hanaor's article “Tensegrity: Theory and Application” written in 1997. Watersheds to keep rain water from percolating through contaminated soils into groundwater.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. sun-shielding for Martian colonies or spherical superstructures for space stations. perhaps temporarily during in-situ remediation. fairs. Thus. shelters. In addition. pergola. trellis. Micro-meteorite protection. Some other interventions in a smaller scale. bridges. Applications and proposals Earthquake-resistant buildings. as frames for hanging plants or other objects to dry. etc. entrances to events. etc. some other possibilities related to lunar stations were suggested by Literati (2001). they would likely be desirable in areas where earthquakes are a problem. low-environmental-impact shells for musical performances. As was mentioned by Pugh (1976) and Fuller (1975b). Supports to hold sunscreen protection for vulnerable amphibians.
stated: “Apart form the tower.2. continuous tension-discontinuous compression principles seem to be appropriate for application to domed structures. plication and transport. Stefan J. Towers. until very recently the one notable field of application was the tensegrity dome. In Motro’s last book (2003).2. 8v Double-Layer Tensegrity Dome Model built and published by Burkhardt (1999-2004) 6. Medwadowski. the tower will be the subject of the following paragraphs. However. a number of which are in existence.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. further research must be done in order to have a better understanding of their load resistance and to improve the techniques of folding. Applications and proposals Devastated areas (disaster relief) Nomadic people Field hospitals In conclusion.” (Preface I) Once the potential of the domes have been related. the past president of the IASS. 80 .
9 of chapter 4).2. as it is quoted: “The passageway formed by the crossed compression members which follows the axis N—N might. fig. under certain circumstances (where large scale towers are constructed) serve as a central shaft for the passage of an elevator suspended by cables from the horizontal beam 57.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. the main contributor to the development of tensegrity towers has been the artist Kenneth Snelson. Needle Tower (1968). The different arrangements are shown in fig. lines 58-63) Following these drawings.2. three of them based on X-shaped modules (cf. This mast was shown by Fuller in his book “The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller”. 81 . In his patent. Column (1969-81). 4. he suggested a possible function for the X-shaped tower (cf.C. Applications and proposals 6. 4. fig. 6. Snelson wasn’t as sure as he is at present about the unfeasibility of applying his discoveries to any field in particular. he has built several masts over the past 40 years: 4-way tower (1963). They are configured as assemblies of the T-prisms that were explained in chapter 5. Needle Tower II (1969) and Penta Tower (2001-03).11 of chapter 4) and other one based on the “simplex” or three legged structure (cf. Different proposals for towers Without any doubt.7. 6. Tetra Tower (1963-2001). His first proposals were described in 1960 in his patent Needle Tower II Illustration taken from Snelson (2004) of Continuous tension-discontinuous compression structures (Snelson. In fact.” (pp. 1965). E. fig.7) with some function. He had already designed a tensegrity mast the year after the tensegrity principles were discovered. In those papers four different columns were designed. 6.1.
Technically it would be moderately easy to construct. fig. 2.3) in the 1950s and some obelisks built by Burkhardt (2000-2004). Applications and proposals Continuous tension-discontinuous compression Columns Illustration taken from Snelson (1965) Sneslon It should be pointed out that Snelson proposed another possibility: he intended to build a sculpture as tall as the Eiffel Tower some day.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. the most 82 . and one of the reasons is that these sculptures are self-scaffolding (cf. 4. 1981). Apart from some other masts erected by Fuller and Emmerich (cf. In any case. the author has not found any more examples of “pure” tensegrity towers. but the obstacle was money (Whelan. fig.16).
9). made of three steel tubes (Ø=273 mm. Marg und Partner. The original idea corresponded with the architects von Gerkan. excerpt from letter received the 4th July 2004. food for thought” 5. According to M. so the bars of one level enter in contact with the bars of adjacent levels. has raised the highest tensegrity tower of the world (62. the tower consists of six “simplex” or twist modules (8.3 m) The Tower of Rostock (see fig 6. 6. However. Jörg Schlaich.2. defined and analysed by Mike Schlaich and his group in Stuttgart. Schlaich (2003). his consulting firm Schlaich Bergermann und Partner. 83 .2. it was decided to use the floating compression principle. but it was really designed. Since this construction did not have to support any external load.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. Each of these twist modules are disposed in a similar way to that of the “Needle Tower” (alternating right-handed and left-handed “simplex”). landmark and visual reference of the Rostock fair and the International Garden Exposition (IGA 2003). led by his son Mike Schlaich. t=12 to 40 mm) and six high-strength steel cables. fig. personal correspondence). Applications and proposals relevant example of tensegrity towers. only fancy sculptures. apart from self-weight and wind. one of the greatest engineers at present. stated that tensegrity has “no real practical use. Tower of Rostock. as was admitted by him in an e-mail to the author (see Appendix D.3 m height each). but the difference is that they are rotated 30 degrees. 5 Personal correspondence.9) was conceived as a symbol. 6. three of them horizontal (Ø=30 and 50 mm) and three other thicker diagonal wires (Ø=50 and 75 mm) (cf. despite it being a “false” tensegrity is the Tower of Rostock.2.
Schlaich (2003) and Ruiz de Villa (personal correspondence) 84 . Applications and proposals Tensegrity Tower of Rostock Illustrations taken from M.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6.
This type of structure is only under the action of the wind and its selfprestress. employing “Sofistik”. Nevertheless. as at the joints. Motro would estimate that the Tower of Rostock comprises of a continuous net of wires and three compressed components. if high pre-tensioning arises. In fact. a computer program that served to accomplish the geometric non-linear analysis. The structure was calculated by Arturo Ruiz de Villa 6. This aspect was important because of the highly pretensioned state of the structure. there is less deflection and less movement in the tower. anchorage and upper needle (a stainless steel needle placed on top of the tower). and there is more deformation. while the total security against break-up is the same. as was discussed in chapter 5. this factor would be enough to consider the structure as “false” tensegrity. because at most two compressive members are connected to any node. the bars have to support a bigger tension as they are rigidly connected. Finally. the dynamic analysis started studying the vibrations of the structure and. thus it was necessary to use third order the theory for large deformations. as proved in Schlaich’s article. Some other details were analysed using a 3D finite element model. e-mail to the author. 25 August 2004 (See Appendix D) 85 . because the tower is so light that its own weight can be neglected. from them. In contrast. the wind determinates the degree of pre-tensioning. Applications and proposals From a very strict point of view. Thus. each of them made of a chain of six struts. the system would be identified as a “true” tensegrity.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. If this value is smaller. Since the three components in compression do not touch each other. the pretensioning was decided to be 1100 kN for the diagonal cables (30% of the tensile strength of the cables). 6 Personal correspondence. It would be a tensegrity ‘class 2’. an aerodynamic study was developed in order to discern the influence of the wind.
2. 4. It is not a problem for contractors to fabricate and erect floating compression structures with the required precision. the maximum displacement on the top of the tower is 850 mm (1200 mm on the top of the needle). At the same time.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. The expensive cost of additional design and production labours can be compensated by savings in material and weight. The tower is fixed to a pile cap in concrete (Ø=8m. 2004) 6. which describes the structural design and analyses these structures. 2. for its construction was around 500. h=2m) that provides the weight necessary to prevent the tower from ‘blowing in the air’. and final price. The responsible engineer of the Tower of Rostock called attention to some conclusions: 1. The initial budget. which in Schlaich’s opinion is quite an expensive amount due to the absence of application of the tower. Some other applications for tensegrity towers After considering the conclusions derived from the construction of the tower in Rostock. Applications and proposals With 1100 kN on these cables. it is anchored to the ground by means of 6 drilled piles of Ø=500 mm.000). Computer software is available. 3. (Schlaich. It is possible to construct large-scale tensegrity structures of this kind. due to its lightness. light and graceful structures can still be produced. the author dares to add to the list some other fields where 86 .000 € (£ 330. In this field many practical. The potential of tensegrity for roof structures is considerable.2. 5.3.
radiotransmitters. they could serve perfectly for this application. Wind parks: Even if it seems unfeasible. by the architects Sidell Gibson Partnership and Buro Happold Engineers. 6. but it was never built. The first one was the “tensegrity structures to atrium roofs” for the Reuters HQ in London. and they tolerate certain small movements. as was mentioned in chapter 4. Skelton and Sultan have been exploring the use of tensegrity structures as sensors and actuators due their kinematic indeterminacy (Tibert. Applications and proposals tensegrity towers or columns could be useful: Lightning conductors: As it is not required to have these elements in a completely static situation. Communications: In situations where the margin of displacements is not very strict. 2002). For instance. Aesthetic elements: In general. there should be some study to analyse the effects of turbines installed on the top of a single or a group of tensegrity towers.3. The second one was the new Stadium in 87 . it is necessary to say that there are not any roof structures based on the principles of continuous tension-discontinuous compression.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. Roof structures. First of all. etc. The author has come across only two references related to tensegrity roof structures.2. receptors. tensegrity towers can be employed to support antennas. The lightness of these structures could minimize the visual impact of these energetic installations. or at least the author has not found any significant examples. mobile telephone transmitters. a study should be carried out in relation to any vertical structure that can damage the visual landscape of an area.
For instance.2). and consequently. 4.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. proposing different systems for assembling tensegrity prisms (detailed in chapter 5). fig. based on a prizewinning concept developed by architect Roberto Ferreira. it is more similar to a cable-dome structure than to a conventional roof structure. It is worthwhile to remark that the structural engineers are Weidlinger Associates. Applications and proposals La Plata (Argentina). Double-layer grid the Laboratoire de Mécanique et Génie Civil in Montpellier Illustration drawn by the author 88 . As one can anticipate. but he did not find applications other than his own sculptures. some other experts are working at present in this field. Ariel Hanaor (1987) started researching the double layer planar configurations in the 1980s. The design adapts the La Plata Stadium Illustration from Weidlinger Associates (2002) patented Tenstar tensegrity roof concept to the twin peak contour and the plan configuration. The result was an interesting debate about the load bearing capacity of these grids. who also worked on the analysis of some Snelson’s sculptures and of the “Georgia Dome” in Atlanta. The first studies for the design of tensegrity grids were carried out by Snelson (cf.
Finally. Pinaud and Chan analysed planar tensegrity structures and concluded that they can be perfectly efficient in bending. figs. their main projects have been focused in the development of double-layer tensegrity grids (cf. Tibert (2002) reports that Skelton. Adhikari. this kind of grid has its most feasible possibilities in the field of walls. Applications and proposals Maybe the most outstanding research is by René Motro and the Laboratoire de Génie Civil in Montpellier.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. Helton. roofs and covering structures. As already explained in chapter 5.11 & 5. For the past few years. Tensegrity Arches Illustration taken from Burkhardt (1999-2004) and Snelson (2004) 89 .8) and foldable tensegrity systems. 6.
Applications and proposals 6. Ice Rink Roof in Munich. the research achieved by Adriaenssens and Barnes (2001).6. there is a research project carried out in the Tor Vergatà University (Rome). However.4.12.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. Arches As for roofs. X-modules by Robert Burkhardt (b) and “simplex” again by Snelson (c). is quite remarkable. It is projected to span a distance a 50 m by assembling expanded octahedrons (Motro. in collaboration with Italian and French institutions. in this case the properties of the floating compression 90 . Illustration taken from Janberg (1998-2004) Tensegrity Arch supporting membrane. presently. until now no applications of arches have been brought into being.13). In some way. to build a tensegrity arch in order to estimate the effective actions of the wind. Illustration taken from Adriaenssens and Barnes (2001) Finally. 2003).2. 3. They have been investigating the use of tensegrity arches and spline beams to support large-span membranes. it is true to say that some of these elements using continuous tension-discontinuous compression principles have been constructed and erected. Some examples are given in fig. Nevertheless. It might be interesting to note that. showing arches respectively based on “simplex” by Maxim Schrogin (a). it is correlated with Frei Otto’s projects in the Kuwait Sports Centre or the Schlaich’s Ice Rink Roof in Munich (fig.
the 91 . Applications and proposals arch are very suitable to accommodate the asymmetric loads and avoid the stress concentrations in the tensile structure. In this case.2. 6.5. but there is also an absence of self-stability and pre-stress in the structure. Moreover. It can be noted that the system has no self-equilibrium stability since it needs to be anchored to the ground in three points and the struts are not stable if they are not resting on the ground.14) 6. The same system has also been represented in fig. which show typical examples of false tensegrity.15 shows an example of a so-called Tensegrity Shade Structures.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. there are compressed components in the boundary and the strut-strut contact or similar contemplations.16 in order to show a clearer perspective without the tensile membrane that covers the inner space. Tent-like structures This section is dedicated to tent-like structures and shadow roofs. 6. created and presented by Daniel Ng (2001-2004). due to the torsional freedom of the arch that equilibrate the stresses (fig. Shade Structure Illustration taken from Daniel Ng (2001-2004) Shade Structure Illustration drawn by the author Figure 6.
etc. this marquee is perfectly tensed and conformed without the action of the cables. Outer Space structures Since the beginning of the “tensegrity era”. exhibitions. the author would like to emphasize that floating compression could be applied to tent-like structures.. Picture taken by the author (2004) Nevertheless. Buckminster Fuller revealed his new inventions: potential prototypes of 92 .2. 6. so useful and interesting in expositions.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6.6. if the other tent is not stable. not necessary in true tensegrities. which play a role in giving more rigidity to the system.17) is very different to the previous one in terms of stability. one of the most recurring applications found for the floating-compression has been its use in moon-colonies. as will be proposed in following paragraphs. Besides. Applications and proposals absence of prestress is definitive to deny the denomination of tensegrity to this shadow roof. Another case produced in Edinburgh (fig. Tent-like Marquee. each module is attached to the ground by means of a fixed basement. In 1961.6.
so they are stable in any position. 93 . but not without avoiding the task of evaluating the consequences of their propositions in-depth. extremely light. foldable. It is not very surprising to arrive at these conclusions. etc. 1961). omni-triangulated. Basically. Geodesic dome. 6. many proposals along the same lines have been given by different people.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6.18).Y hree of his basic structures: Tensegrity mast. Octet truss. Modern Museum. Lunar applications Fuller exhibition. Applications and proposals satellite and moon-structures conceived as tensional integrity. (cf. since one of the particular characteristics of tensegrity structures is that they don’t depend on gravity. Illustration taken from Fuller (1961) Since then. prestressed. N. “spherical nets in which local islands of compression act only as local sprit-stiffeners” (Fuller. fig.
the utilisation of lunar regolith to produce concrete. There is no doubt about it. meteorite impacts. However. radiation. Different applications besides Architecture As a curiosity and illustration of interesting initiatives. a very defined project has been carried out from another approach (Literati. tensile integrity structures were not the starting point.7. moonquakes.). etc. it is lunar architecture and some day it will be necessary to face circumstances of this kind. mainly foldable reflector antennas7 and masts (2002) and the latter has dealt with large retractable appendages in spacecraft (1995).Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. It could be claimed that in this case we are not dealing with conventional architecture. In this case. 7 See also “Deployable Antenna” patented by Knight et al. in any case. light. 2001). 94 . Floating compression options are included in a long list of suggestions.g. wind. e. etc. Recently. this section is dedicated to show some other functions that have been found with continuous tension-discontinuous compression. This project sought the improvement of new structural concepts that experience completely different external loads (1/6 of Earth’s gravity. 6. (2002) and “Deployable Reflector Antenna” by Ian Stern (2003). different risks (like pressure containment. dehydration.2. but a resource to achieve another objective: the establishment of a selfsustainable society in the moon. The former has been studying deployable tensegrity structures for Space applications. (Appendix C). the technology needed to obtain a source of energy. Applications and proposals Maybe the exception is the research of Tibert and Pellegrino. it is still architecture. etc). etc) and different environmental conditions (atmosphere.
Tensegrity Furniture Illustrations taken from Koennig (2004) and Werta (2003) 6. Puzzles. lamps. There are other exemplars like the 95 . tables.2.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6.2. toys and leisure. 2003b.2.7. In Appendix C it is possible to see the characteristics of these patents by Kittner and Quimby (1988) and Mogilner (1972).19). see the patents of Wiesner (1973). 2003c & 2004) in Appendix C. 6. For more models. Furniture Chairs.1. Miller (1977) and Barber (2003a. Applications and proposals 6.7. ornaments are some examples of attractive applications (fig.
but it might be interesting to remark that the “Tensegritoy” has been developed from the first patent. and could be applied to the external surface of the submarines.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. installed hanging from the roof of the Engineering Centers Building atrium. 6. 6. 96 .3. 6. University of Sixty Strut Tensegrity Sphere Fuller Illustration taken from BRUW System (2002) Wisconsin-Madison (fig.2.7. even Buckminster Fuller dedicated some of his efforts to this field of art. he created the 60-strut stainless steel and wire sphere. As a result of such a fascinating facet.4. Applications and proposals “Skwish Classic”.2. Such a surface could move in response to the pressure and skin-friction fluctuations of an overlying wall-bounded turbulent flow. This is the instrument that the author has been using for the configuration of the simplest models as it is very useful for spherical tensegrity polyhedra. UCSD Flow Control Lab (2004) is currently studying how to optimize the compliance properties of a compliant tensegrity fabric in order to reduce the skinfriction drag induced by a turbulent flow. Sculptures In addition to Kenneth Snelson’s sculptures.7. Submarines.20).
It should be noted that the designs are ideas that might be developed further. they do not achieve the requirements of professional projects since they are not necessary at this stage. have been incorporated in order to give more rigidity and minimize the typical deflections of floating compression structures.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. shown in the plans (cf. G. dedicated to versatile uses such as an exposition centre. where a Tensegrity Truncated Icosahedron is truncated again to conform to a dome (3/4 of a sphere). plans and images will be presented in Appendix H. art pavilion. In the drawings (Sheet 1 of Appendix H). while the respective drawings. rather than detailed drawings proposed for a real project. 97 . figs. this system is not triangulated.1.16).3. Tensegrity dome from the Truncated Icosahedron The original idea was to take advantage of one of the configurations shown in Appendix G (tensegrity models. Three floors are considered. but the diameter could be approximately 20 meters. some additional cables. taking advantage of the vertices of the polyhedra. etc.14. Personal proposals In the following sections some potential applications will be explained. Applications and proposals 6. Therefore.3. Sheet 1). so it is not as stable as desirable. nothing is defined in more detail because the main purpose is to show feasible applications rather than developments in depth. a small dome is proposed to contain an atypical architectural space. As is mentioned by Snelson. In fact. these floors have also the purpose of making the structure firmer by connecting the apex located in the same horizontal plane.15 & G. In the design. offices. 6. G. The dimensions are also relative. Therefore.
inserted into the struts until it arrives at ground level.5). the author was trying to define the shape of a system that would be able to support a certain asymmetric hypothesis of external loads. it could be dangerously exposed and would disturb the elegant figure of the tower. The 98 . It was created by adding one of these “simplex” modules over another module and rotating it 30º until the end of one strut enters in contact with the end of other one at the lower level.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. H.10-G. a helicoidal tower is obtained. a new configuration for a tower is proposed in Sheets 2 & 3. If the conductor was installed vertically along the axis of the tower. Applications and proposals In the ‘render’ images (cf. the skin of the dome has been set up as transparent. 1 & H. When working with the models. G.4). but adding smaller modules each time. On the top of the mast.3. which is called the Helix Tower. but the reason for that is just to make the inner distribution of the space clearer.3. If this step is repeated.2. Roofing for Stadiums by assembly of modules This is maybe the most ambitious proposal. fig. The conduction of the lightning is through a cable. H.3 & H. Appendix H.2). covered with insulating material. there is a needle whose function is to receive the lightning in case of a discharge in the surroundings (cf.5). G.13). the result is a pyramidal Helix Tower that will be employed for the lightning rod (fig.3. 6. fig. Following this process. He accidentally discovered a tensegrity figure made with six struts and 20 cables (cf. A study for the Lightning rod is shown in Appendix G (figs. 6. Lightning rod from the Helix Tower Taking the “simplex” as a basis.
1) in this way. in order to balance the weight of the cantilevered roof (see graphics). elliptical. H7 & H8). The latter are relative values to be scaled up or down (everything multiplied by a single positive constant) depending on how much the structure is to be prestressed. based on these modules as part of the roofing of stadiums in general. Once they are located in their place. H6. Some examples are provided (Sheets 7 & 8. fig. where they could be unfolded and prestressed. figs. the possibility of adding a cable attached to a marquee or balcony has been considered. Due to their adaptability. Sheet 9).9). etc. figs. 6.7). figs.7. in order to transport them to the site. only the option of the marquee has been contemplated. the author achieved a conglomeration of tensegrities by assembling several tensegrity tetrahedra based on the faces defined by their truncated vertices (cf. and also the lengths and the relative member prestress force magnitudes. G. G. 5 and 6 it is possible to see the different steps of folding. G. a new system was conceived.8 & G. Applications and proposals model was peculiar because of its capacity to be folded and unfolded (cf. 99 . square. The fact that they are foldable could facilitate their preconstruction and assembly. a pyramidal configuration is achieved. Taking this consideration into account. When joining the Truncated Tetrahedra (cf. G.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6.3. In sheets 4. additional cables and cladding would be necessary to give more rigidity and protection. In the mentioned examples.6 & G. Pyramidal roof from assembly of Truncated Tetrahedra After some experiments with models in space (cf. which could easily cover triangular areas. Even though every module is self-stable and could rise on its own over the stands.4. they would be optimum for covering the stands of stadiums with different shapes: circular.
3. Other figures of Appendix H (H.. Moreover. Other suggestions to develop In this chapter. although it could also be considered for other possibilities.12 & H. it could be supported in just four points (cf. H. The author also suggests studying the feasibility of marquees for entrances.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. The main structure of the footbridge could be easily installed by means of a crane. lights. Transparent elements have been chose in order to achieve understandable perspectives.10) have been included.3. railing.3. communication towers. because of its lightness. Figure H. structures for seismic areas. 6. Even though the new structure is self-stable. linking two buildings or spanning narrow rail lanes or roads. 6.9 & H. marquees to cover parking places. Sheet 10). for instance.. additional cables would be necessary to give more rigidity and to permit larger spans. fig. some images (cf. etc.). Footbridge from assembly of “Simplex” modules This last example is conceived as a small footbridge in an urban context. Applications and proposals In order to show a comprehensible example of this application.11). 100 . It is the result of assembling several “simplex” along their main axis (cf.14 shows an additional cable-stayed structure to support this footbridge for longer spans.5. etc. some possibilities have been suggested. wind parks.13) show the final configuration of the structure and other installations (deck. but obviously they might be investigated in more detail: moon stations. H. The transparency of the cladding is intended to give a clearer and more aesthetic perspective of the assembly.
by Tony Armstrong-Jones (Lord Snowdon). they could be used for disaster relief in areas devastated by earthquakes. due to the lightweight and self-stability of the structure. Applications and proposals It might be interesting to project a tensegrity structure conceived as an exclusion or containment of flying animals or other species. The idea came after seeing the Snowdon Aviary in London. by installing deployable systems in the form of temporal dwellings. hurricanes. fig. floods and so on. as a cable net with dense grid. Some other applications could depend on the evolution of the investigations on foldable tensegrity structures. The main advantage would be that. The latter might be conceived as a transparent membrane skin or. etc. perhaps more suitably in terms of conservation. bridges. G. could be transported easily without the inconvenience of changing the animals from their habitat. Cedric Price and Frank Newby. However.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 6. thus. a further research must be carried out to develop these potential applications. As a result. field hospitals. The author would like to point out the possibility of generating a similar structure using large bars as isolated components in compression with the tensile surface working as the prestressed component. it could be considered the shape of a Truncated Octahedron (cf. like any other proposal mentioned in this work. it would not need to be anchored at all and. 101 .2). For instance.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Chapter 7 Questionnaires and Interviews .
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Chapter 7. Questionnaires and Interviews
Chapter 7. Questionnaires and Interviews
During the preparation and planning of the present work, it was decided to carry out both qualitative and quantitative research techniques in order to understand some important points related to the topic in question. The characteristics and results of the studies will be listed in the following paragraphs, although the preliminary interviews with some professors will not be included as they served only as a help to focus the dissertation.
7.1. Questionnaires Three kinds of questionnaires have been organised and prepared, however, only two of which have been utilised.
7.1.1. Questionnaires to professionals: The first aim of this study was to discover if the knowledge of tensegrity structures, and their basic principles, are widespread among architects and engineers. The second aim was to gather more information about tensegrity from those professionals that had any knowledge of it. Therefore, a general and basic questionnaire, which is attached in Appendix F, was prepared and sent by email to professionals of both subjects, architecture and engineering, to various places in Europe. As the author anticipated a low rate of response, it was decided to send them to the departments of structures in the three universities where he carried out his studies: Universidad de Cantabria (Spain), Université de Liège (Belgium) and Queen’s University Belfast (Northern
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Chapter 7. Questionnaires and Interviews
Ireland). In addition, due to other circumstances, it was also sent to the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain) and University of Bath (UK). In effect, the rate of response was very low; the questionnaire was sent to 139 e-mail addresses and only 21 answered (15% aprox.). Even though it was remarked in the cover letter of the questionnaire that no knowledge of tensegrity was needed in order to answer it, the author considers that this low number of replies could be due to the unawareness of the subject. The results are clear enough: only 10 of 21 had heard about tensegrity before. Some of them did not have a clear concept but a vague idea, or even recognized that they did not know that much about it. Taking into account that they are specialists in structural subjects, it is easy to deduce that it is not a commonly known type of structure and not very well known among architects and engineers. It should be emphasized that some of these questionnaires, (included in the 10 positive answers) were addressed to experts that have been dealing with tensegrity structures. In this case, the result was to obtain more information about tensegrity rather than studying the number of professionals aware of floating compression principles. Some of these experts were Chris J K Williams (University of Bath), Celso Iglesias and Avelino Samartín (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)
7.1.2. Questionnaires to specialists: A similar survey was carried out, but this time with some changes since they were addressed to experts that have been working with tensegrity structures. In this instance, the questions were very similar but, obviously, the answers expected from them were to be more concise. Some of these questionnaires were sent to
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Chapter 7. Questionnaires and Interviews
Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, because of their participation in the Tower of Rostock; to Arenas y Asociados, for the same reason; and finally to Buro Happold and Sidell Gibson Partnership, for a common project in Blackwall Yard (London) which had a tensegrity roof. The information obtained from their replies is included in the text. The author is proud to report that this questionnaire has been filled and returned by two of the most important engineers of the world at present: Javier Manterola Armisén and Jörg Schlaich. Their collaboration has been very useful and doctrinal, and at the same time a privilege and an honour.
7.1.3. Questionnaires to the general public It is obvious that this type of structure is tantalizing, since it is not very instinctive in the way it works and how the struts can be “floating” in the middle of a group of cables. Therefore, the author had the idea of confirming the impression of excitement that people have when seeing a tensegrity structure. An informal survey was carried out in order to discover the most predominant opinions, but it was abandoned not much later because the unique opinion was generalized. Every single person that saw any of the models thought that it was “really amazing”, “gorgeous”, “stunning”, using these or similar expressions. Therefore, it was not worthwhile to gather all these opinions when the point of view was basically the same.
7.2. Interviews Once the major work of research was completed and after gathering a large amount of information from diverse sources, the author looked for a new phase in the process of completing the data already obtained.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Chapter 7. Questionnaires and Interviews
The interviews were established by means of several and continuous emails with the experts in question, due to their geographic inaccessibility. The most important results are reflected along the main discourse and collected in the Appendix D of Personal Correspondence, where only the answers of the specialists are shown because the questions can be easily inferred from them. There is principally contact with four different people: Kenneth Snelson, the sculptor who discovered the tensegrity fundaments in 1948 and who kindly shared his knowledge with the author; Mike Schlaich, Civil Engineer responsible of the design of the Rostock Tower; Arturo Ruiz de Villa, Civil Engineer responsible of the calculation of the same tower; and finally, Robert W. Burkhardt, the author of the publication “A practical guide to tensegrity design”, who has been collaborating in the calculations of some of the models proposed by the author. It might be interesting to note that another interview was sent to René Motro to Montpellier (France), but unfortunately he failed to reply, which seems to be something usual for this outstanding researcher. In any case, all of these personal correspondences have been really fruitful and profitable, and it is not an exaggeration to recognize that the author did not expect such an important source of knowledge.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Chapter 8 Discussion and conclusions
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Chapter 8. Discussion and conclusions
Chapter 8. Discussion and conclusions
This concludes the main body of research and design work developed during the last months. Personally it is considered that the objectives programmed at the beginning have been achieved.
8.1. Discussion and conclusions Throughout the research work, the author has come across a large number of references about tensegrity, and other structures, in Nature. It seems like the floating compression is present in every single atom of our Universe, which recalls some of the quotations of the first pages. Moreover, natural principles are not only a constitutive of biotensegrity, or vice versa, but also of some other examples in the history of Architecture. Antoni Gaudí, Santiago Calatrava and Frei Otto are only some of these cases. Take, for instance, the studies developed by the latter: he used the structural fundaments of soap films, spider webs, vertebral spines, oil drops, etc. to achieve an improvement in his designs. He invoked biological functionalism to support the concept that lightweight is a real measure of structural effectiveness (Drew, 1976). The author realized that, to date, some scientific methods followed the sequence: researching ? developing systems/theories ? finding them in Nature. Tensegrity is not an exception. The experience of the architects mentioned above shows that maybe it is more logical to follow this other sequence: researching in Nature ? finding systems/theories ? developing them in other fields.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Chapter 8. Discussion and conclusions
In his manifesto of futurist architecture, written in 1914, Antonio Sant’Elia (cited in Drew, 1976) predicted a new architecture with new qualities: revolutionary, elastic, light, expandable, active, mobile and dynamic. Thus, he identified the most important features of tensegrity structures. Needless to say few things can be achieved without more investigation, but tensegrity could be one of the structural systems of the future. From the author’s point of view, an important step was reached by finding several examples of tensegrity prototypes that could be applied to Architecture and Engineering. His own proposals could serve as an illustration to the feasibility of tensegrity as a lightweight structure to cover large spans, bridge shorter distances or support light infrastructures. Of course, a much more detailed structural investigation would be necessary, but at least the presupposed idea of tensegrity as an inapplicable system has been disproved.
8.2. Further research In chapter 6, some possibilities have been briefly pointed out, but obviously they could be investigated in more detail: moon stations, communication towers, wind parks, marquees for entrances, marquees to cover parking places, structures for seismic areas, etc. Some other applications could depend on the evolution of the investigations on foldable tensegrity structures. As a result, they could be used for disaster relief in areas devastated by earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and so on, by installing deployable systems in the form of temporal dwellings, bridges, field hospitals, etc. However, as for other proposals mentioned in this work, further research must be carried out to develop these potential applications.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendices .
somehow. Albers picked me to help because I had shown special ability in his three-dimensional design class. I have long been troubled that most people who have heard of "tensegrity" have been led to believe that the structure was a Bucky Fuller invention.and besides. the painter Josef Albers who had taught at the German school and immigrated to the U.html R. Buckminster Fuller. There was no such thing as a tensegrity or discontinuous compression structure in his collection. He spoke and wrote about it in such a way as to confuse the issue even though he never. however. especially because Mr. etc. Guildford Surrey GU2 5XH Dear Mr. Of course. The attraction at Black Mountain was the Bauhaus master himself.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix A. Josef Albers asked me to assist the new faculty member in assembling his assortment of geometric models for his evening lecture to the college. in Motro (2003) and in http://www. Nonetheless I know something about this particular form of structure from making so many sculptures over the years which use the principle which I prefer to call floating compression.net/snelson/rmoto. As you probably know. to others it is trivia. If it's his name. was strong on publicity and. Motro’s correspondence from Snelson From Kenneth Snelson to R. I am not an engineer but an artist so I don't really feel qualified to write for an engineering journal. successfully led the public to believe tensegrity was his discovery. we are now in the year 1990 and not 1948 so all of this fades into the dim footnotes of history. Motro: I regret it has taken me so long to respond to your letter about the special issue of Space Structure dedicated to tensegrity. What Bucky did. the "tensegrity" discovery resulted in a way from play. Motro’s Correspondence from Snelson Appendix A. turned up two weeks into the session. in so many words. a substitute for a professor of architecture who cancelled a week before the summer began. International Journal of Space Structures. I took a summer off to attend a session in North Carolina at Black Mountain College because I had been excited by what I had read about the Bauhaus. only an early.. was to coin the word tensegrity as he did octet truss and geodesic dome." Whenever an inventor defends his authorship the issue invariably turns out to be important only to the author himself. Maybe you're acquainted with the tale of Buckminster Fuller and me. which it was not. Motro International Journal of Space Structures Space Structures Research Centre Department of Civil Engineering University of Surrey. a powerful strategy for appropriating an idea. during his long and impressive career. 108 . for his own purposes. fifteen miles from Asheville. the wench is dead. unknown to most of us in those early days. play aimed at making mobile sculptures. But since he rarely accredited anyone else for anything. A second-year art student at the University of Oregon in 1948. but I'd like. published in November 1990. in this case. He talked about it publicly as "my tensegrity" as he also spoke of "my octet truss". There is a line somewhere in a theater piece which goes. none of this is all that surprising. Motro. great circle. isn't it his idea? As many new ideas do. version of his geodesic dome. dymaxion. Fuller. to set the record straight. in 1933 to join the faculty of that tiny liberal arts college (fifty students that summer) in the Blue Mountains of North Carolina.S. claimed to have been its inventor.grunch. "But that was long ago in another land -.
small mobile sculptures mostly. after all. I made numbers of small studies. In my Fullerian trance the descent into the real world was greatly confusing. while forfeiting mobility. The three small works which are of interest here were concerned both with balance of successive modular elements hinged one-to-another and stacked vertically as seen in photo #1. kite-like modules out of plywood. literally. clay. which I did. for example. Albers counselled me that I demonstrated talent for sculpture. We were young and looking for great issues and he claimed to encompass them all. causing the connections to be more or less invisible. because he claimed so. no human had ever noticed. solid elements fixed in space. more importantly. I believed. But. but amplifications of the familiar balancing toys seen often in novelty shops."his" geometry. Thus. held together only by tension members. He had that cult-master's kind of charisma. wire. My small discoveries in these two pieces were logical enough. as I said. cardboard. It was the effort to make the pieces move which resulted in their spinal-column. Students joked that. I thought of these threads as adding a note of mystery. an Indian rope trick. at least as invisible as marionette strings. I had already become the first in a trail of students from colleges and universities who. At the end of the summer session. that before Buckminster Fuller came along. that to inscribe the diagonals of the square faces of a cube was to define two interlocking tetrahedra within. and. Bucky's lessons were laden somehow with the sense that the ideas were proprietary -. Motro’s Correspondence from Snelson During his lecture that evening Professor Fuller mesmerized us all with his ranging futurist ideas. modular. Oregon. were to become electrified "Fullerites". If I pushed on them lightly or blew on them. I managed to gain something even more exotic. I had learned much about geometry from Fuller as well as art and design from the Bauhaus. over the years. I saw that I could make the structure even more mysterious by tying off the movement altogether. but it was true. While Albers' teachings were imparted as useable ideas in public-domain. suspended one-to-the-next by means of thread-slings as shown in photograph #2. I returned home to Pendleton. As the summer quickly went by with most of the small school monitoring Fuller's classes I began to think I should try something three-dimensional rather than painting. In photo #2 one can see module-tomodule sling tension members replacing the wire hinges connecting the modules shown in photo #1. Photo #3 109 . etc. hadn't Bucky invented the triangle? None of us knew. building things. perhaps to variations on Calder mobiles. using thread. making my parents miserable by moping and spending hours in the basement. nor anything at all about crystallography. property. of Alexander Graham Bell's early space frames. though one could imagine that they might just as well lead to something other than to the first tensegrity structure. Photo #2 One step leading to the next. they swayed gently in a snake-like fashion. replacing the clay weights with additional tension lines to stabilize the modules one to another. Were they structures or sculptures? They incorporated the attitudes of both Fuller and Albers. They were. I spent the autumn at home. of course. I blush for it now.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix A. metal from tin cans. oneto-another. I was quite amazed at what I had done. for example. making "X". later. Photo #1 In the autumn of 1948.
holding it in his hands. #3).Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix A. The rest of the story is one of numerous photographs and statements in print. That original small sculpture disappeared from his apartment. E. but I gave it to him.whatever that may have meant. He also described it as a structure which grows stronger the taller you build it -. studying it for a very long moment. but demonstrates how the important events happen where the atmosphere is most favorable. I hated it and did very poorly. The event was one of those 'It happened' events. may advance the spontaneous good will and understanding of mankind by many centuries. into spontaneous articulation of the solution. turning it over. I enrolled for engineering that winter ('48'49) at Oregon State College. also demonstrates the importance of good faith of colleagues of this frontier. a true space-filling system. When I showed him the sculpture. Rather than the X-module for compression members.G. I corresponded with Bucky and I told about my dilemma and also sent photos of the sequence of small sculptures. I felt a little wistful but not at all suspicious of his motive as he had his picture taken. properly incorporated in fundamental structures. The name of Ken Snelson [his underline] will come to be known as a true pioneer of the realized good life and good will.. When we got together again in June I brought with me the plywood X-Piece (Fig. He was quite struck with it. that is like spokes radiating from the gravitational center. Photo #3 Next day I went into town and purchased metal telescoping curtain rods in order to build the "correct" structure for Bucky. to the vertices of a tetrahedron. let alone their professors. Motro’s Correspondence from Snelson Still confused about my purposes and direction in school. even though Bucky penned the following in a letter to me dated December 22. The absorption process began early. He then asked if I might allow him to keep it. If you had demonstrated this structure to an art audience it would not have rung the bell that it rang in me. That you were excited by the latter. with "his" tensegrity. It hadn't been my intention to part with it. Of course the irony was that I had already used that tetrahedral form in my moving sculpture #2. Those were not yet the years when students easily contradicted their elders. The classes depressed me even further. In Time magazine he declared that. and rejected it in favor of the kite-like X modules because they permitted growth along all three axes. the ready reproduction of which. grand claims in magazine articles and public presentations." 110 . 1949: "In all my public lectures I tell of your original demonstration of discontinuous pressure .(com-pressure) and continuous tension structural advantage. He must have understood from the letter how confused and depressed I was at school for he suggested I return for another Black Mountain Summer Session. he could now span the Grand Canyon. so he told me at the end of the summer. who had been seeking this structure in Energetic Geometry. triumphantly holding the new structure I had built. it was clear from his reaction that he hadn't understood it from the photos I had sent. Next day he said he had given a lot of thought to my "Xcolumn" structure and had determined that the configuration was wrong. rather than only along a single linear axis. they should be shaped like the central angles of a tetrahedron. partly because I felt relieved that he wasn't angry that I had employed geometry (Buckminster Fuller's geometry) in making art.in which right makes light in a prototype structure. .
Sincerely. "The moment you tell me that the compression members reside interior of the tension system. none of the many students in schools where he lectured ever got to see it. No. force-diagrams in three-dimensional space. I wish you the very best with your special issue on the subject. you can afford to remain anonymous for a while. curator at the Museum. about my part in tensegrity. Usually the philosophy is akin to turning an antique coffee-grinder into the base for a lamp: it's there. He could not have lived with himself with the blatant theft of my original system. At last. Calling it a mast seemed especially obtuse. these studies in forces are a rich source for an art which celebrates the aesthetic of structure. he managed successfully to put under wraps my original form. he had denounced it as the "wrong" form." He was speaking metaphorically about this type of structure in general. my credit for tensegrity found its way into the public record. In that it was dated three days before Christmas. of physical forces at work. transitory as it was. This forced Bucky's hand. New York 10012 111 . was quite fortifying and enabled me to once again pick up my absorbing interest in this kind of structure with the feeling that now I was free and on my own. is that by Bucky's transposing my original "X" module into the central-angles-of-the-tetrahedron shape to rationalize calling it his own. "Ken. for no other purpose than to unveil the exquisite beauty of structure itself. Over the years I've seen numbers of fanciful plans proposed by architects which have yet to convince me there is any advantage to using tensegrity over other methods of design. A year later. any number of students labored to constructed their own "masts". this type of structure. January 1951 he published a picture of the structure in Architectural Forum magazine and. When I posed the question some years later why he accredited me. and besides. I have continued to make sculptures which now stand in public sites in many places. that ought to be enough. of course. That moment of recognition at the Museum of Modern Art in November 1959. One of the ironies of this not-too-unusual tale in the history of teacher-student relationships. I can tell you I can build a better beam than you can. but he regarded himself as a man of the sea. In those years. As the engineer Mario Salvadori put it to me many years ago. at least in its purest form is not likely to prove highly efficient or utilitarian. I no longer felt anonymous. I see the richness of the floating compression principle to lie in the way I've used it from the beginning.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix A. Kenneth Snelson 140 Sullivan Street New York. Sorry there are none in England or France. As I see it. generous. but all were built using the tetrahedral form. this is but a footnote to a storm in a teapot. as I describe them. as he said. the highly adaptable X form. As a result. The ghost of Bucky Fuller continues to muddy the water in regard to "tensegrity". mood. since I know where the ideas came from. of course. he replied. Motro’s Correspondence from Snelson Bucky's warm and uplifting letter arrived about six months after I first showed him my small sculpture. As I said earlier. surprisingly. old man." Finally. Whether or not you are able to use this narrative about the beginnings of tensegrity. For me. With some persistence and with the lucky aid of Bucky's assistant I was able to get word to Arthur Drexler. in his public lectures and never in print. I was not mentioned. I tell myself often that. in 1959 I learned that Fuller was to have a show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and included in it was to be a thirty-feet high tensegrity "mast". I suppose he was in a festive. Especially I picked up where I had left off with the neglected X-module which was left unnoticed for an entire decade. Consciously or unconsciously we respond to the many aspects of order in nature. so why not find a way to put it to some use.
(1964).S. 1965. 1. (1964). 1. Structures linéaires autotendants. September 28. D. K. French Patent No.S. An illustration of the following patents will be presented in this Appendix: FULLER. September 28. 1962. EMMERICH. Construction de réseaux autotendants. French Patent No. Original Tensegrity Patents Appendix B. D. discontinuous compression structures.377. February 16. U. Patent No.G.G.063. 1964 SNELSON. U.611.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix B. 1964 EMMERICH. Patent No.290. 112 .291. (1965) Continuous tension.169.377. November 13. Original Tensegrity Patents. R. 3.521. (1962) Tensile-Integrity Structures.B. 3.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix B. Original Tensegrity Patents Extract of Fuller’s patent 113 .
Original Tensegrity Patents Extract of Emmerich’s patent 114 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix B.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix B. Original Tensegrity Patents Extract of Emmerich’s patent 115 .
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix B. Original Tensegrity Patents Extract of Snelson’s patent 116 .
731. (1979). 4. G. (2002). Patent No. 5. G.441. (1998) Sports catch glove with stiffner. U. Patent No.S. Tensegrity Unit.T. and ROONEY. Patent No. Other Tensegrity Patents Appendix C. and TAM. D481.M.741. August 27.F. U. 1988 KNIGHT. D. U. March 22. BARBER. GLENN. U. 2002 LIAPI.S.717. 4. S. (2003).D. (1980).H. Patent No. Patent No.483.801. 2004.S.994.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C..676. DUFFY. Patent No. U. April 22.W.148. February 17. CRANE. GOLDSMITH.962. U.715. A. 2003/0009974 A1. Patent No. and QUIMBY. 4. Piece of furniture.207. 2002 BARBER. R. U. U. 1990 KITRICK.T. Female condom employing tensegrity principle. K. 1979. Patent No.T. L. U.553. BARBER.901. C. Patent No. G. L.S.S.S. (2003c) Chair composed on non-contacting compression members and tension members. D473.T. Patent No. (1988) Roof structure. G.880. E. Tensegrity Deployable antenna using screw motion-based control of tensegrity support architecture.J. D471. D487. (1990) Spiral helix tensegrity dome.S. January 13. April 4. U.S. 2003. 2002/0038658 A1.. 2003. (2004) Four-strut support composed of non-contacting compression members and tension members.S. 1988. 2003 MILLER. BARBER. C. U.S. Other Tensegrity Patents An illustration of the following patents will be presented in this Appendix: AUSTIN. Structure and Method for construction. B. (2003b) Table composed on non-contacting compression members and tension members. April 10. (2003a) Lamp composed of non-contacting compression members and tension members.520. J.D. GEIGER. 2002. III. 117 . C. Compression-tension strut-cord units for tensile-integrity structures. June 17. (2002). Patent No. U.R (1988). 1998 HUEGY. 4. and TAM. Tensegrity module structure and method of interconnecting the modules.S. G.155.S. Patent No. J.M. 6. US2002038658. April 4. (2002) Female condom employing tensegrity principle. 1980 KITTNER. Patent No.S. November 11. U. Patent No. C.736. 4. February 20.A. April 12. U.S. March 18. February 24. 2003.
Deployable tendon-controlled structure.L. S. (2001) Système a autoéquilibre stable pour élément de construction. R.S. 1986. SKELTON. Patent No. (1997). Patent No. NELSON. (1996) Tension braced dome structure. U.928. (1986). V. Patent No.502. Telescoping strut members and tendons for constructing tensile integrity structures. 4.642.590. déposée le 9 avril 2001 aux noms de C. R. W.S. U. October 3. April 1. U. (1975) Stressed structure for supporting weight.E.A.614. September 30.542.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C. 1997 STERN.J.R. RADUCANU.A.901. U. Patent No. G. demande de brevet français nº 01 04 822. 6. April 2. WIESNER.S.S.695. (1972).S.132. August 26.502. 1972. 2003.N. Patent No. 1975. and MOTRO. Tensegrity Structure Puzzle. W. U. (2003) Deployable reflector antenna with tensegrity support architecture and associated methods.617.S.S. July 1. TERRY. 5. 3. U. Other Tensegrity Patents MOGILNER. 5. 3. I.551. 118 . Patent No. 1996. – Ste Tissage et Enduction Serge Ferrari.
Other Tensegrity Patents Extract of Fuller’s patent 119 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
Other Tensegrity Patents 120 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
Other Tensegrity Patents 121 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
Other Tensegrity Patents 122 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C. Other Tensegrity Patents 123 .
Other Tensegrity Patents 124 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
Other Tensegrity Patents 125 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
Other Tensegrity Patents 126 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C. Other Tensegrity Patents 127 .
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C. Other Tensegrity Patents 128 .
Other Tensegrity Patents 129 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Appendix C. Other Tensegrity Patents
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Appendix C. Other Tensegrity Patents
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Appendix C. Other Tensegrity Patents
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture
Appendix C. Other Tensegrity Patents
Other Tensegrity Patents 134 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
Other Tensegrity Patents 135 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C. Other Tensegrity Patents 136 .
Other Tensegrity Patents 137 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix C.
1997) Fig. 1. 3. “Tensegrity. Deflection of the expanded octahedron Appendix E. no deformation” Illustration taken from (Mijuca. mid-deformation” Illustration taken from (Mijuca. “Tensegrity. 2. the deflection of the expanded octahedron modelled by cables and beams finite elements (Mijuca. no deformation” Illustration taken from (Mijuca. can be seen in next figures: Fig. 1997) Fig. 1997). “Tensegrity. 1997) 155 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix E. Deflection of the expanded octahedron In order to show the Elasticity Multiplication of tensegrity systems.
He was the director of the design of the Rostock Tower.C. He was the person responsible for the calculation of the Rostock Tower while he was working in Schlaich’s consulting “Schlaich Bergermann und Partner”. class "Bauen mit Seilen" (building with cables). his sculptures have done more to spread the concept of tensegrity than anybody else. Correspondence with Mike Schlaich. D.T. Art studies in University of Oregon. de Ingenieros de Caminos Canales y Puertos de Santander. Mike Schlaich is a Civil Engineer at the University of Stuttgart (Germany).1. Black Mountain College. Burkhardt is the author of the publication “A practical guide to tensegrity design”. Paris. Eugene. Universidad de Cantabria (Spain). Personal correspondence Appendix D. Robert W. he has been lecturing at the University of Stuttgart. Oregon. He is also a partner and managing director of the company “Schlaich Bergermann und Partner”. Since the year 2000.. At present. 138 . Personal correspondence D. N. Correspondence with Arturo Ruiz de Villa Valdés.4. For further references. Correspondence with Kenneth Snelson. see chapter 2.S. Correspondence with Robert W. degree in the E.3. Kenneth Snelson is a very recognized sculptor. he is working in “Arenas Y Asociados” (Santander). Black Mountain. Switzerland (Dipl. D.2.-Ing. Burkhardt. Arturo Ruiz de Villa is a Civil Engineer. in Rostock (Germany). and at the Suisse Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich. which Fuller popularised as tensegrity. ETH).Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. D. and in his web page he shows very interesting points about tensegrity applications (see Bibliography). However. He discovered floating compression in 1948. Fernand Leger.
Fuller gained much of his fame as a salesman selling tensegrity snakeoil.com> Sun. 20 Jul 2004 08:18:03 . you should look there for your research to the extent that my work is part your thesis. Jáuregui. Tensegrity dissertation Para: De: Fecha: "VALENTIN GOMEZ JAUREGUI"<valentin.es> kenneth snelson <k_snelson@mindspring. Jauregui. Fifty years of it now.es> kenneth snelson <k_snelson@mindspring. It would seem from your request that in your imagination I am sitting by a window somewhere trying to think of what I might do to kill time.com> Tue. as a student. I appreciate that you are interested in my work. Emmerich labeled me a "defeatist" because I said that tensegrity is not a sound building strategy. I am overwhelmed with projects that take all of my time. There is much to read and much to learn and. However. The web is wonderful but it's also a place where anonymity makes the contact seem a waste of time. Best wishes for success in your dissertation. 18 Jul 2004 13:09:37 .gomez@alumnos. That is one of the benefits of publishing so many of my ideas and articles at my website. Personal correspondence Asunto: Re: To K.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D.gomez@alumnos. They produced nothing useful nor enduring 139 .Questionnaire Para: De: Fecha: "VALENTIN GOMEZ JAUREGUI"<valentin. just look at the range of my work compared with that of either of those two guys. Yes.0400 Dear Mr. If my response to your inquiry was harsh it's because I receive many emails from people with rather pointless ideas which I spend time trying answering. it is my belief based on long experience and making endless numbers of tensegrity structures of all shapes and sizes that the principle in itself is impractical for building buildings. As you know many architects and engineers have worked toward that end and still do. None have shown there is the slightest structural advantage in its use for such purposes. I will be send you pictures for your paper.unican.Snelson .0400 Dear Mr. In brief though. I've grown weary of it especially since I never hear a word from them again. I do not have empty hours to fill out forms or questionnaires. Kenneth Snelson Asunto: Re: From Jauregui.unican. claiming he could "bridge the Grand Canyon with tensegrity". I'm happy to say this is not the case.
Tensegrity structures are endoskeletal prestressed structures -. 3 Aug 2004 15:16:00 . "Cantilever30'1967. Tell me which pictures you need and I'll try to find time to locate files large enough for print.and that restriction leaves out endless numbers of items. Jáuregui. Some of his disciples often show my work with a sly implication that it is Fuller's. See my 90' tower at the Kroeller Mueller in Holland or "Easy Landing" in Baltimore Md. some other points Para: De: Fecha: "VALENTIN GOMEZ JAUREGUI"<valentin. Maybe that's what you referred to in your question about atom models.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. exsoskeletal structure? I think not. Fuller declared that everything in the universe was firstname.lastname@example.org" Dear Mr. Did the world need a different name for that kind of solid rim. Yes. "1961SpringSt. no way to avoid that as long as one stays with discontinuity.unican. These planes are also very flexible and I know of no instance where they've been put to use for any practical purpose. if everything is tensegrity then tensegrity is nothing of any particular sort. 140 .es> Kenneth Snelson <k_snelson@mindspring. same with a spider web. Two of my planar pieces are in sculpture collections. It's perhaps analogous to people's trying to achieve perpetual motion in the nineteenth century. It really comes down to this: until you actually build a few of these structures you won't understand the issues involved. Most important: it's not a triangulated structure 2) the other domes you cite can not be considered tensegrity. They are. I was fascinated with these when I first made them in 1961.0400 1 TEXT/PLAIN 6852 bytes Adjunto mostrado debajo 2 IMAGE/JPEG 78626 bytes. Attached is a photo of the artist as a young man back then with one of my experiments. Kenneth Snelson Asunto: Re: From Jauregui. Enough said except that there are many theses from architectural students around the world that have been infected with the tensegrity fever. Personal correspondence with tensegrity. 1)Bucky's "tensegrity dome" or sphere is by its nature as soft as a marshmallow. I've made this point in my writings which you probably have come across in your research.com> Tue. regardless what people wish to call them. essentially. I am also struck by your having picked up somewhere on Bucky's endless claims of having invented everything in the universe.jpg" 3 IMAGE/JPEG 86218 bytes. bicycle wheels. Where did you get the idea he had produced an atom model? If he did it's news to me.KenPlanar. so what's the point in using that word? As for my friend Rene Motro's double-layer planes. As I've also said elsewhere.
My thoughts about it are included in the attached letter to Ms Gough about Ioganson whom she discussed in the article which will be included in her upcoming book. "". 141 . a matter for accuracy in reporting? Also. Personal correspondence Here attached also is a photo of the "30' Cantilever" which I guess is the piece you are referring to.com> Mon. Best wishes. 23 Aug 2004 15:03:24 . when I first saw his wood that what he had discovered was tensegrity. Once again. for Bucky to have kept repeating the silly tale that print on the web) "I told Ken.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. The short-compression-members assertion is somehow analogous to Bucky's glib answer when someone during a lecture challenged him about an echo-chamber effect inside one of his domes: "No problem at all: just place a sponge at the focal center to absorb the sound. Ioganson. again. They need heavy and robust end-fixtures in order to absorb the powerful tension forces that pull outwardly with great cumulative force. Is it not. The other Ioganson piece. (still in sculpture goofy. As you note. no. very short compression members. that presumably make it a supernaturally efficient structure is. You use the expression. now at Stanford. Short compression struts mean long tension lines which mean extreme elasticity. I don't know why. nonsense. Kenneth Snelson Asunto: Re: From Jauregui.es> Kenneth Snelson <k_snelson@mindspring. It was also the subject of an article in "October" magazine by Maria Gough. "a battle of egos" about Fuller and me. It's the only cantilever I've done whose name is Cantilever.0400 1 TEXT/PLAIN 5787 bytes.doc" Dear Mr." At least his charlatanism was charming. but here goes. from other address Para: De: Fecha: "VALENTIN GOMEZ JAUREGUI"<valentin. If I've repeated here what I said in my last message I wouldn't be surprised. Koleichu for the Guggenheim Museum exhibition a few years ago and was said to be the "first tensegrity". The struts can't be all that lightweight because they must support enormous compression loads. "MariaGough." How perfectly would have dated his using the word "tensegrity at least before he coined it. In any case. the sculpture by Ioganson that Rene Motro focuses on is not a prestressed structure. Jaurequi. "". was "replicated" from the photo by a Mr. rather. "" Adjunto mostrado debajo 2 APPLICATION/MSWORD 35840 bytes.unican. the one in the far background of the famous Constructivist Exhibition photo.gomez@alumnos. I was not influenced by Mr. It six years His statements about tensegrity's magical property.
Again: "On the other hand. I trust that you'll be able to include the facts of this message and still find a way to get where you're going in your thesis. empirically. Science goes from theory to proof by testing. My bet is that Emmerich worked also with models and then built his larger pieces based on them as reference. Look at the facts: how many genuine tensegrity works did Fuller produce in his lifetime? Also compare the "structures" analytic study at my website against anything either Pugh. depending on the size of the work. Personal correspondence You say. Emmerich or Kenner have to tell you about how these structures work.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. Show me any tensegrity structure whose tension network is not fully triangulated and I'll show you a flaccid structure as is the case for most of Connelly's and Black's inventory. my widely varied collection of works simply would not exist. Galleries take.. Pertinent details? What does that mean? and for what variety of tensegrity structures? You ask about the fabrication costs for my sculptures: Roughly. Fuller and Emmerich took the scientific approach. A piece like "Mozart I" would today sell for from four to five hundred thousand dollars. Why is it that you and others characterize artists as naifs whose work is frivolous whereas men who call what they do "science" are trusted to have profound understanding of heavyweight matters? Fuller built his tensegrity dome based on measurements of his small models. his tensegrity domes are not triangulated and therefore are as shaky and floppy as a Tensegritoy. You say about Fuller's domes: "However. If I had been a brilliant mathematician instead of a skillful and inventive model builder. Kenner developed the useful "Geodesic Math and How to Use It" which shows how to calculate "to any degree of accuracy" the pertinent details of geodesic and tensegrity structure's geometry. I think this covers most of what I see as problems in Chapter 2. No one has developed a computer program or algebraic formula that can design tensegrity with any degree of accuracy. man. studying the different possible topologies. What makes there work science? Other than the comparative output the main difference is that they were pursuing the goal of utility and neither succeeded in that. Fuller made grandiose claims with no testing whatsoever. Fuller.. Despite all his celebrating of triangulation." I strongly challenge your assertion that their method was somehow "science" as opposed to my blind approach. even his cigar-strut "Geodesic Tensegrity Dome" you show sitting in that workspace could barely hold itself up. measuring what actually turned out. Omitting the truth about tensegrity won't improve the quality of your scholarship. the final application of Tensegrity was not as successful as he thought it would be. after costs are subtracted. Best wishes. "On the other hand. There are simply too many variables including the ultimate "tuning" of the piece which can only be done in the field. as he intended. fiftypercent of the selling price. Kenneth Snelson 142 . the cost of fabricating an outdoor piece is roughly twenty-five percent of the gallery's selling price. he was never able to produce a Tensegrity dome which could cover the whole city.using mathematics." My God.
The individual sticks 143 . or three-strut. I found the "In the Laboratory. 2003 What a surprise to learn that you were in the audience at my talk at Michigan. By the way. June 17." article fascinating and informative when a fellow from Latvia named Juris Sils faxed it to me in connection with an exhibition of Karl Ioganson’s work he was trying to make happen. Personal correspondence Mozart 1 Kenneth Snelson (1982) Stainless steel (7x9x9m) Stanford University. came across what one now calls a three-way. your illustration #10 “spatial constructions. He then. tensegrity module. CA Illustration taken from Snelson (2004) Dear Maria Gough. by some unrecorded steps. according to your paper apparently struggled with those three octahedral variations. which tell us something about his focus on crosses. the entire three-way structure is the module if used as such. Don’t know the end result of his plan. Bucky Fuller’s claims about these structures are off the wall. I’m bad with names so when I got Ms Schwartz's email about pictures I regret I didn't make the connection that you are the author of that excellent paper. etc. I do wish you had introduced yourself because I have your 1998 October 84 piece. I take it that your request for the particular pictures you wish to use in your upcoming book are in regard to the Karl Ioganson theme of your original paper? I appreciate your involvement with the Constructivists and their art and history and I want not to detract from your fine scholarship but I do wish you had talked with me beforehand since you try to deal with the subject of tensegrity and I don’t think you had the best of sources. Karl Ioganson.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D.
A module is a whole object or closure that. and connected them together in one of several ways. that I was using at the beginning. The materials are wooden dowel sticks painted silver and string. any next step that would let us know he had a grasp of what was going on with the structure? Apparently not. 1962. As I no doubt said at Michigan. As far as we can tell. Your paper argues that he didn’t have sufficiently high-tech materials in order to move forward. Perhaps some political pressure ended his quest or perhaps his inventiveness or inquisitiveness simply had its limits. a geodesic dome is synonymous with tensegrity. the Harvard microbiologist Donald Ingber invokes tensegrity as a buzzword to bolster a contested theory of cell structure. By now. sticks positioned and strings properly attached. the country would be dotted with novelty shopping centers or MacDonalds supported by tensegrity golden arches since. and tension-spoke bicycle wheel with its major load-bearing rim is not tensegrity no more than is a spider web. or x-modules. Yes. “floating compression” goes back to. only parts. it’s curious since even I wouldn’t have been able to make out from that famous jumbled 1921 exhibition photo that Ioganson’s piece (marked number IX) was indeed a three-strut tensegrity structure. Attached are two pictures from early studies. at least. “Well. novelty is great for commerce. or even an unreasonable one. in the course of the twentieth century.” I then considered. Koleichuk’s reconstructions of Ioganson’s small sculptures. But in themselves. Would he not have asked.. I regret that this letter grew much longer than I possibly imagined when I started out. This is less than convincing since he would have had sticks and strings. Personal correspondence are not modules but simply compression struts. For example the engineer Mathys Levy calls his great dome in Atlanta “tensegrity” whereas it actually is a beautifully designed giant bicycle wheel. Ioganson the prize: “(Karl Ioganson) invents a new principle -. Over the past fifty years. beyond all other attributes. when attached or interconnected with similar objects can create a more complex form. To him. the very word has become garbled.” The unfortunate fact is that tensegrity is not and never was functional except for the function in my sculptures of permitting viewers to admire the nature of pure structure. But the forces within the system need to be so huge that the structure becomes inefficient for supporting any external loads. that he himself placed no emphasis on it.a prototensegrity principle -. neither the individual struts nor the individual tendons are modules. If indeed it is. too. that he apparently quite abandoned his amazing discovery with no follow-up? Did none of the other artists or visitors think it represented a remarkable phenomenon? Wouldn’t one expect him to take a next step. Similarly. My standard descriptive name. If Ioganson had made another three-strut tensegrity. tensegrity works the way it does because it is an equilibrium of contesting forces within a closed system. or several of them. except that he had studied my work. that expanded object would be a modular structure. since even I wouldn’t have been able to verify it as such. When I saw the 1992 catalog of the Guggenheim show with Mr. will that work?” It doesn’t hold water that Karl Ioganson was thwarted by inadequate materials. enormous functional significance. or Bucky Fuller’s or David Emmerich’s. “What if I use four sticks instead of three.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. At the end of your paper. primitive works composed of two-way.that would come to have. “It is as if they are floating in a net of. No one on Earth would have been able to discern the nature of IX without prior acquaintance with the tensegrity primary. you compare the Stenberg brothers’ and Ioganson’s aspirations with their actual achievements and you award Mr.. the startling discovery just sat there among his other works and those of his colleagues. if a clever architect. but I think it’s important for you as well as for me and for the sake of your splendid scholarship. a real estate agent or a greedy entrepreneur had figured out a way to make tensegrity into a reasonable building system. Bucky Fuller exploited his puffed up tensegrity claims shamelessly even though he knew better. I thought. is it not uncanny that Ioganson nor anyone else left a comment about this surprising object. say like my “Needle Tower”. The hint that he had studied me was your quote from Koleichuk which is an appropriated paraphrase. Wires” Coming across one’s own words mouthed by a stranger is eerie indeed. I very much look 144 . that Koleichuk would have no way of guessing at the object. is number IX indeed what Koleichuk says it is? Once you see his model it looks like the piece there in the background. So. absent of discussion. the materials he already was using.
Please let me know your purpose in choosing my 1967 stainless steel X-Piece for illustration. clear and highly intelligent. only corrective. I’m sure your book will be much more complete than your thesis which. “Easy Landing” or other major piece for the benefit of those who know nothing of my work and might take it that I stopped producing way back then. Ms Gough. I would much prefer you include a photo of something really representative such as “Needle Tower”. to me came across as forceful.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. Warmest wishes for the book. Kenneth Snelson 145 . Personal correspondence forward to the publication of your book but I hope you have the chance to work out these problems before it goes to press. Out of fairness. I realize my discussion here sounds harsh but it isn’t meant to be hostile.
ein Tensegrityrekord.de Asunto: Antwort: Articulo Tensegrity Para: De: Fecha: "VALENTIN GOMEZ JAUREGUI" <valentin. sc. 19 Jul 2004 14:23:05 +0200 Valentin: La revista Alemana se llama "Stahlbau" la editora es "Ernst und Sohn" y salió en Octubre 2003: [x] M. 7 Jul 2004 19:02:24 +0200 Estimado Valentín. D-70178 Stuttgart fon: +49-711-6487114 fax: +49-711-6487166 e-mail: m.gomez@alumnos. Stahlbau 72 (2003). techn. Ernst & Sohn (in German).schlaich@sbp. Para que sepas: hacía finales del año saldrá una versión inglés de este artículo en la revista: JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR SHELL AND SPATIAL STRUCTURES: IASS.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D.de Wed. sc. Nosotros hemos proyectado la torre de Rostock. techn.de Mon.es> m.sbp.schlaich@sbp. Saludos de Stuttgart.de http://www. Heft 10.unican.es> 146 . Asunto: Antwort: Dissertation Tensegrity Para: "VALENTIN GOMEZ JAUREGUI" <valentin. Saludos.email@example.com. Personal correspondence Asunto: tensegrity Para: De: Fecha: valentin.es m. Mike ------------------------------------Mike Schlaich. Mike Schlaich -------------------------------------------------------------------Mike Schlaich. gracias por tu mail.schlaich@sbp. Mañana te mandamos un artículo (en aleman) sobre la estructura. Dr. Schlaich Bergermann und Partner Hohenzollernstr.Schlaich: Der Messeturm in Rostock .firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. que con sus 62m de altura probablemente es la torre tensegrity más alta hasta ahora.1.
No obstante.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. La torre ha sido disenada. definida y analisada completamente por Schlaich Bergermann und Partner y también nosotros propusimos en su día utilizar tensegrity.schlaich@sbp. Saludos. "". 30 Aug 2004 08:52:32 +0200 debajo 1.pdf" Estimado Valentin. Para torres creo que tensegrity es demasiado flexible ( y por lo tanto caro) para servir mucho. techn. Mike Schlaich ------------------------------------Mike Schlaich. 147 .000€. Personal correspondence De: Fecha: m. Te adjunto un nuevo artículo en ingles que saldrá pronto en la revista del IASS. sc.1 TEXT/PLAIN 2822 bytes. "messeturm_IASS. "". "" Adjunto mostrado 2 APPLICATION/OCTET-STREAM 476776 bytes. los arquitectos eran de gran ayuda ya que nos aconsejaron y también establecieron todos los contactos con el cliente. El coste neto (y el presupuesto) de la torre era de 500.de Mon. Dr.
3 m superpuestos unos encima de otros en los que las barras comprimidas del inferior tocan las del superior. Un saludo. Personal correspondence Asunto: Torre Tensegrity 1/2 Para: De: Fecha: valentin. "".email@example.com. También me ha comentado que habías recibido contestación de Mike Schlaich. También se realizaron modelos de elementos finitos para los detalles. 19 Jul 2004 11:24:45 +0200 Hola Valentín: He recibido tu correo relativo a las estructuras tensegrity.com> Wed. no dudes en preguntarme.8 m que la convierten en la más alta del mundo (por lo menos que tengamos constancia). Tiene una altura de 61.es> Arturo Ruiz de Villa Valdés <arturo. Qué programas usaste para el calculo de la torre? Para el análisis global de la estructura se calculó con el programa Sofistik realizando un cálculo no lineal (geométrico) en grandes deformaciones (teoría de tercer orden).jpg" 3 IMAGE/PJPEG 1106612 firstname.lastname@example.org. "rostock-3.es arturo. ya que está formada por 6 módulos tensegrity de 8. pero cuando estuve en Alemania con Schlaich participé en el proyecto de una torre tensegrity. superando una de 30 m que existe en EEUU.com Mon. Si tienes alguna duda.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. La torre en cuestión no es tensegrity pura. pero ahí van las respuestas: 1. Está rematada por una antena de acero inoxidable. Creo que ya lo sabes por Santiago. Arturo Ruiz de Villa Valdés PD: en el siguiente mail te envío un par de fotos de la torre. "rostock-1. Mejor contéstame a esta dirección. 148 . placas de anclajes y para la aguja o antena de coronación. 25 Aug 2004 18:07:47 +0200 Hola Valentín: Espero que no sea demasiado tarde.jpg" Asunto: Re: Torre Tensegrity Rostock Para: De: Fecha: VALENTIN GOMEZ JAUREGUI <valentin. La primera es mía y puedes utilizarla como quieras. tales como nudos de barras. 2 IMAGE/PJPEG 519144 bytes.jpg" 4 IMAGE/PJPEG 1116400 bytes. "". Las dos últimas están tomadas de la portada de una revista y de un libro de Schlaich.ruizdevilla@ono. "rostock-2.gomez@alumnos. "".
Cuanto mayor es el tesado inicial de los cables. es de acero inoxidable y está sujeta por seis cables anclados en los tres nudos superiores del último módulo de la torre. como habrás visto en el artículo. mayor es la rigidez de la estructura y menores sus deformaciones. 3. La idea del encepado es colocar un peso en la base que evite literalmente que "el viento se lleve la torre por los aires". 5.3). Sin embargo. o también dinámico? Se analizaron los modos propios de vibración de la estructura y a partir de ellos se hizo un estudio aerodinámico de la influencia del viento. El viento es la acción externa principal y totalmente determinante en el diseño. El diseño de la torre vino definido por la oficina de arquitectos (von Gerkan. Éste es un asunto sensible. Fue un calculo estático. Del mismo se obtuvo un coeficiente dinámico que permitió considerar la respuesta dinámica de la estructura frente al viento y así poder mayorar su acción (Cd = 1. una estructura más flexible por efecto de los cables provoca un aumento de las flexiones de compatibilidad de las barras (que están rígidamente unidas entre ellas). tienen los cables para evitar el efecto del viento? Siendo una estructura eminentemente "hueca". La estructura está anclada a la cimentación mediante barras pretensadas. Sabes cuáles son los movimientos y desplazamientos de la mentada torre? El desplazamiento máximo de la punta de la aguja es de 1200 mm bajo las cargas máximas de viento en servicio (sin mayorar). pues tiene gran influencia en el coste y en la deformabilidad de la estructura. Por otra parte.5 m (aunque por cuestiones arquitectónicas se recreció hasta unos 2 m). 4. Qué tipo de cimentación se usó para estabilizarla? La torre está anclada en un encepado circular de hormigón que tiene un diámetro de 8 m y un canto de 1.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. Personal correspondence 2. aproximado. 6. no se aprecia influencia del pretensado en la seguridad global de la estructura frente a rotura de los cables. El pretensado se fijó de manera que bajo la carga de viento máxima en servicio (sin mayorar) ningún cable se destesara (1100 kN para los cables diagonales = aproximadamente el 30% de la carga de rotura del cable). Esta antena. Marg und Partner?). Resumiendo fue un cálculo cuasiestático. La torre es tan ligera que su peso propio es despreciable frente a las otras cargas. pues condiciona el pretensado. dado lo ligera que es. Estos nudos se mueven 850 mm. las tensiones en las barras aumentan. es tan decisivo el factor viento? El viento y el pretensado son las dos acciones principales sobre la estructura. Qué pretensado. que permanece constante (mira la gráfica 8 del artículo de Mike). o vosotros la modificasteis en función de la estabilidad del diseño? 149 . con lo que si se disminuye el tesado. Este encepado se apoya en 6 pilotes de 500 mm. Este estudio reveló que dado el carácter zig-zagueante y relativamente irregular de la estructura no eran de esperar fenómenos de resonancia y acoplamiento de los vórtices turbulentos.
También es cierto que se puede recurrir a soluciones mixtas (por ejemplo la torre de Rostock no es tensegrity pura para reducir los movimientos. También podrían usarse como pararrayos en zonas urbanas. No puedo asegurarte si la idea de realizar una tensegrity fue de Schlaich o de los arquitectos. De lo que sí estoy seguro es de que en el proyecto constructivo sólo intervinieron en la iluminación y pavimentación del encepado y zócalos de apoyo de la torre. receptores o similares. La torre es. Un saludo.000 Eur. cara pues los cables lo son y además porque exige un proceso constructivo muy preciso. el "Warnow Halle". Crees que torres de este tipo podrían usarse como estaciones de repetición. recintos feriales etc. pero mejor pregunta a Mike. pero a nada que sean algo estrictas veo inviable su empleo. antenas. Personal correspondence Los arquitectos querían construir una torre que sirviera de referencia y símbolo del recinto ferial junto al edificio principal de exposiciones. 7. Yo creo que Mike propuso varias soluciones tensegridad y finalmente los arquitectos seleccionaron la altura y número de módulos. así como en la orientación de la torre. Sabes cuál fue el presupuesto y el precio real de la torre? Crees que el factor económico es poco conveniente para este tipo de construcciones? Espero no meter la pata con esto. pues los elementos en compresión se tocan). Por otra parte. 8. son elementos muy vistosos que merecen la pena la inversión. Arturo Ruiz de Villa Valdés 150 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. o las oscilaciones que sufren las harían desaconsejables? Desconozco las limitaciones de movimientos y oscilaciones de este tipo de estructuras. creo que costó 500. si se busca dulcificar el impacto estético de una antena puede que sean una buena solución. También se tuvieron que tantear diferentes diámetros de cables y barras. También es cierto que en lugares emblemáticos como exposiciones. Recuerdo que debido al fuerte viento que hace allí se modificó el diámetro de la torre para que tuviera más inercia. sin duda.
I know where to get copies of the U.html Valentín.BUFFALO. but Figure 13 is as I say. patents on the web. you might as well treat it as valid. I don't know how controversial this replication is. The French ones I wasn't able to find. Snelson admits to knowing about the Gough article and doesn't seem to contest it though when he says "far background" and puts "replicated" in quotes I sense a certain amount of skepticism. It is a standard tensegrity 3-prism exactly like the one I discuss in Section 2.com> Wed. I'd be glad to look over your dissertation if you care to email it or whatever. Certainly the prism Gough exhibits must be prestressed if only a small amount. The Gough article is the only place where I have seen a claim that Ioganson originated a tensegrity prism.unican.0400 Fuller's works" Ref: http://www. and I'd imagine you can find pictures of the constructivist exhibition elsewhere though maybe not at the resolution that would allow you to judge Gough and Koleichu's claim. but I'm not that curious so don't bother sending them.com> Sun. Since Snelson doesn't directly contest it.EDU> Bob Burkhardt <bobwb@lycos. Personal correspondence Asunto: Re: Tensegrity Dissertation Para: De: Fecha: VALENTIN GOMEZ JAUREGUI <valentin. As far as tensegrity is concerned.com/users/bobwb/tenseg/book/cover. Ioganson just did that one structure and really didn't develop the form like Snelson.S. Emmerich and Fuller. It's just hair splitting.es> Robert W Burkhardt <email@example.com. 25 Aug 2004 22:00:47 -0400 Hi Valentín. Sorry I can't send a copy of the article.gomez@alumnos. I don't have a copy handy. Bob Asunto: Re: These sur Tensegrite Para: De: Fecha: " List for discussion of Buckm inst er <GEODESIC@listserv. and the one Emmerich refers to is not. but Figure 13 is just a picture of a reconstruction of a structure Gough (and/or collaborators) claims to have reconstructed from a picture of an exhibition. and the Guggenheim seemed to think it valid if they displayed the replications as such. If you read my historical essay you'll note that I also mention Emmerich who is referring to a completely different structure by Ioganson which must be what Snelson (and Rene Motro) are referring to in regard to not being pre-stressed. 29 Aug 2004 12:38:21 . If you email it and it's over 500K let me know a day ahead to expect it and what size it is.channel1. 151 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. I just use a dialup connection and I'll be patient if I know it's something worthwhile. The claim seemed reasonable to me.
2004 or later). I think these considerations may arise in many quarters due to the early experience with single-layer structures which were pretty wobbly although even there the deresonated tensegrity domes do pretty well I think.com/users/bobwb/synergetics/photos/x3dblprism1. From what he's said. If you see anything you think I've omitted I'd be glad to hear about it. or the X-Module arch (http://www. I think my methodology is very general (see Section 7.channel1. Personal correspondence Yes I'd have to disagree with Snelson based on my experience. geometrically rigid structures" (Section 1. It is also important to remember that tensegrity structures are prestressed and that the effect of an exogenous load on one can vary quite a bit depending on the magnitude of the prestress. I think I've done pretty well.com/users/bobwb/synergetics/photos/x2l11chain6. I know he made this claim in the past. see the bridge design I did recently (http://www.2. 152 . Many times I don't appreciate the full implications of a structure until I have it assembled and I've learned a lot by putting them together. I've found there's a sort of art to setting up the mathematical programming problem and initializing it in various settings. Some people see this as a defect as the materials are in a sense fighting against themselves instead of just against gravity.6). efficient and allows tuning on the computer though I'd agree field work is very valuable. It is something like Hanaor's comment: "relatively high deflections as compared with conventional. I think his procedure amounts to minimizing a sum of second powers of lengths and perhaps that leads to the sturdiest structures (see the end of Section 7. but perhaps by-products of the characteristics that lead to resilience. Getting effective load response is perhaps more difficult. but I'm surprised if he's still saying it since there are so many engineers that say otherwise. and I don't think he can make the radical sort of experiments that I can numerically. I sent him a copy of the first edition of my book but perhaps it didn't make much of an impression. I tend to state a lot of my conclusions (if I have any worthwhile ones) in the body of my exposition without reserving a special section for them.4 comment #2).html).3.channel1. 2004 or later) to good effect.2 in releases of July 29.2.html). but I see it as a virtue (prestressed concrete is pretty popular right?) since it adds so much resilience. I'm not going to bother explicitly rebutting Snelson's claim since I think the book does that implicitly. I'd agree with him as far as algebraic formulas are concerned as those have been found only for some simple structures. but I think with the double-layer designs progress has been made there. This works out for me since I think it's best to have them very close to the procedure they apply to. but I think application of less elastic material would help a lot here. but I'm not a civil engineer so maybe I don't understand the technical meaning of resilience. Of course none of them has produced the array of interesting structures that he and Emmerich have. and I use meta-constraints (Section 7. On the other hand. I think his tuning capability is somewhat limited.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D.6 in releases of July 16. My use of nylon makes the load response of my structures somewhat problematic. For the most part I think iterative techniques are necessary. For example. I don't think anyone has objected to resilience as a property of structure. accurate.
and I haven't heard of anyone who rules out a structure as a tensegrity in that regard except for your allusions. Bob Asunto: Re: Some other points Para: De: Fecha: " List for discussion of Buckm inst er <GEODESIC@listserv. but the interface is closely tailored to support the tensegrity work since that's all I use it for.maybe he still has them there somewhere -. This Tower of Rostock reminds me of Tristan Sterk's towers (which were at www. I may look into developing it for release after the revisions for the 2nd edition of the book are done. Personal correspondence You found the French patents on line? I guess after all I'm curious enough that if you have electronic copies send them along thanks or best of all tell me where to find them on the net. I think the custom extremal analysis software I use works well. If you have an internet link to this guy's work. For a lot of the tensegrities where the struts touch I think the geometry is fairly well determined and though my extremal approach works there. For analysis. That I think is where I would find the most difficulty getting satisfaction out of other packages. I can't say I'm familiar with other software packages.ofram. and all of them admit structures where the struts touch. I will be curious to see what you get from your software. My main emphasis is on design.EDU> Bob Burkhardt <bobwb@lycos. simpler approaches may do very well. I cite three fairly diverse definitions in my book. If it's not Tristan's work. It would be difficult for other people to use I imagine. and I imagine my analysis theory and practice (Chapter 7 and 7. there may be lots of other packages out there that do the job. 29 Aug 2004 15:13:16 . But a lot of my advantage is the way I've tailored my software to apply extremal techniques specifically to tensegrity.0400 Fuller's works" Hi Valentín. I consider tensegrities where the struts touch to be true tensegrities.com though the sublink seems to have disappeared . I haven't tried to distribute mine as I'm not ready to yet though I think I've set out the theory and practice behind it pretty well in my book.com> Sun. I'd be curious to see it. My customdeveloped extremal software is somewhat generic.I can't find it). but there too perhaps a commercial package could do better. I don't think the design difficulties are so great as with those where the struts don't touch and I am very interested in exploring these latter sorts unconstrained by problems with design software which I think my software allows one to do.BUFFALO. I looked around and couldn't find anything. 153 .3 in particular) could benefit from the attention of a civil or mechanical engineer. Perhaps the main consideration for me is that the commercial packages are beyond my budget even when I've spotted one that might work.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. I may not be familiar with it.
Bob VALENTIN GOMEZ JAUREGUI <valentin.gomez@alumnos. I think I understand the better than the bridge.es> Bob Burkhardt <firstname.lastname@example.org 154 .com> Tue.unican. Your software hasn't been helpful? The modules are folded by changing lengths of specific tendons I take it? Once you are more secure in the design. but they both look good to me. 07 Sep 2004 16:46:24 .es> Bob Burkhardt <bobwb@lycos. I did a similar thing when analyzing a Geiger dome.0400 Hi Val. Bob stadium have an stadium design. I'll try out one of the modules eventually and see what I come up with. It looks like you've got a sort of deterministic tensegrity where my sorts of procedures aren't necessary to find tendon lengths. You interesting approach to tensegrity. Looks like an interesting concept.. I've been working on my French lately. 08 Sep 2004 09:04:09 . Personal correspondence I'll see how I do with the French patents. Thanks for sending it along. I hope you will post it on the net.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix D. I'd think any canned software could tell you stresses etc. Thanks for sending these along. Asunto: Re: Modules Figures Para: De: Fecha: Val.gomez@alumnos. Looks good so far.unican. The lower-left view in the first picture confused me for a minute since visually two struts look combined into one. Bob Asunto: Re: Renders Para: De: Fecha: VALENTIN GOMEZ JAUREGUI <valentin. Very simple but it should work. but if it's inadequate I'll ask for the British patents.com> Wed. but mine can handle it as well although it's sometimes tricky to set up the problem so it knows what I'm talking about without running into singularities. Thanks for sending me the French ones.
Throughout my thesis (you can find the table of contents on the following page). as I’m trying to gather all my information in the next month.. these types of structures are currently being studied and experimented upon. If you wish to remain anonymous. Belfast (Northern Ireland) 156 . Even if you do not know a lot about the subject. this shall be facilitated. Questionnaire Belfast. the basic principles.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix F. If you wish to read the final work. buildings and public works. Hoping to hear from you very soon. some precedents and current examples. I am finishing my dissertation which is titled “Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture”. I would like to record your opinion. Questionnaire Appendix F. just let me know and I will send you a text version of the thesis. which will also include some history of Tensegrity. At the moment and until mid September.p. It would help me immensely if you could fill out the brief interview that you can find enclosed. I will be carrying out theoretical and experimental research. However. a MSc Architecture student at Queen’s University Belfast. If you have any queries or problems with the questionnaire. in my opinion the views of current engineers and architects are very important and could give me a wider perspective of what I am researching now and what they may have already studied. I am trying to do something similar. as it would be interesting to see how much is known about these structures in our profession. As you already know. please don’t hesitate to contact me. On a smaller scale. Finally. Yours sincerely. My name is Valentín Gómez Jáuregui. 18 June 2004 Dear Professor. This is the reason why I am addressing this letter to you. Valentín Gómez Jáuregui. and some specialists are attempting to apply them to functional shapes.a. I would like to thank you in advance for your collaboration and I would be very grateful if you could reply a.s.
If yes. write Y (YES) or N (NO). could you write any recent example(s)? 11. Further education: 5. other case. If yes. If you do not wish to answer. which? 157 . in order to ask to them or.. Name: 2.2. please. think.") SECTION B Now. etc. If yes. Please. write the answer that proceeds.1. Degree: 4. Age: 3. Location: 5. do not feel forced to and skip the question. Questionnaire SECTION A Firstly. Location: 4. Formation 4. Do you usually read any publication (books. Current profession: 5.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix F... 7.3. dam. such a building. etc? 10. Profession 5.3. Precedent professions and locations: 6. I would like to ask some simple questions about your personal details. Do you usually travel with the motivation of visiting any architectural or public work. Do you usually read any other publication(s) related to other different subjects? 12.1. bridge.) related to architecture or engineering? 8.. 1. Do you wish to remain anonymous? (In that case. which? 9. any information given by you will be referenced as "some architects/engineers/.2. journals. Sex: 4. I would like to ask you a few questions about general issues concerning your attitudes.
not in photographs or videos)? (Y or N – If NO. I just would like to record your opinion. do not be troubled if you do not know a lot about the subject. the Tensegrity Structures. go to question 19) 18. What do you know about them? 15. 158 . where? 19. please. where? 21. as it would be interesting to see how much is known about these structures in our profession. If yes. please. Have you ever seen any of them (in reality.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix F. Would you like to receive a text version of the dissertation when it is finished? Thank you very much for your collaboration. Have you any other proposal. go to question 21) 20. please. If yes. Do you know any professional or specialist dedicated to work/study about Tensegrity Structures? 17. And what personal opinion(s) have you about them? 16. Please. suggestion or question? 23. 13. Would you be able to suggest any possible application for this kind of structures (even if at first glance could seem unfeasible)? 22. Questionnaire SECTION C Finally. go to question 22) 14. I would like to ask you about the main subject of this letter. Have you ever heard about any real or practical application of this sort of structures in any architectural or engineering work? (Y or N – If NO. Have you ever heard about Tensegrity structures before? (Y or N – If NO.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix G. Assembly of Truncated Tetrahedron by strut-cable contact. 159 . Tensegrity Models All the models shown in this Appendix have been made by the author in 2004 by means of “Tensegritoy” elements. Tensegrity Models Appendix G. Each strut is 30 cm length. Tensegrity Truncated Tetrahedron Tensegrity Truncated Octahedron Assembly of two Truncated Tetrahedron by strut-strut contact.
Unfolded Foldable Module for Stadium. Folded 160 . Tensegrity Models Foldable Module for Stadium.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix G.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix G. Tensegrity Models Study of conglomerations for the Pyramidal Roof Option 1 Assembly of three Truntated Tetrahedra Option 2 Assembly of three Truntated Tetrahedra Option 3 (Chosen) Assembly of three Truntated Tetrahedra 161 .
Tensegrity Models Study of masts for the Lightning Rod Study of masts Upper perspective Study of masts Upper perspective Study of masts Horizontal disposition Study of masts Frontal view 162 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix G.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix G. Tensegrity Models Generation of domes from a Tensegrity Truncated Icosahedron Tensegrity Truncated Icosahedron Model made by the author (2004) Dome from Truncated Icosahedron Model made by the author (2004) Dome from Truncated Icosahedron Model made by the author (2004) 163 .
Tensegrity pyramidal roof from Truncated 5. Tensegrity dome from the Truncated Icosahedron 2. Footbridge by assembly of modules 164 . Roofing for Stadiums by assembly of modules 4. Lightning rod from the Helix Tower 3. Plans and renders Appendix H. Plans and renders Index: 1.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix H.
Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix H. Plans and renders Tensegrity Truncated Icosahedron Tensegrity Truncated Icosahedron 165 .
Perspective from below Lightning Rod. Perspective from below Lightning Rod. Plans and renders Lightning Rod.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix H. Perspective from above 166 .
Perspective from outside Roofing for elliptical Stadium. . Perspective from inside 167 . Plans and renders Roofing for elliptical Stadium.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix H. Perspective from inside Roofing for elliptical Stadium.
Plans and renders Pyramidal roof from assembly of Truncated Tetrahedra Pyramidal roof from assembly of Truncated Tetrahedra 168 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix H.
Plans and renders Footbridge from assembly of “Simplex” modules Footbridge from assembly of “Simplex” modules 169 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix H.
Plans and renders Footbridge from assembly of “Simplex” modules Footbridge from assembly of “Simplex” modules 170 .Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix H.
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A. KAZI-AOUAL. Art News. June .713-719.August 1981.lmgc. pp. J.kennethsnelson. G. FOX.2 (1998). Artforum. (1971) "Kenneth Snelson's Position is Unique".htm KURTZ.A. (2003) Modélisation des systèmes de tenségrité: Grilles à double nappe. PUGH.net/icons/art. Proceedings of LSA98 “Lightweight structures in architectural engineering and construction”. May 1977. (1981) “Portrait of an Atomist”.46-49. H. Montpellier: Laboratoire de Mécanique et Génie Civil. New York (USA). BERNARD. SANCHEZ. PERLBERG.fr/doctiss04/art/M03.Tensegrity Structures and their Application to Architecture Appendix I. Artforum. MOTRO.pdf WANG. Kunstverein Hannover.). Can dispute be settled?". Vol. Catalog Essay for Kenneth Snelson Exhibition at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. 1968. Scotland: CivilComp Press. and LI. October. N. in The New York Academy of Sciences (ed. C.fr/ADM/05_C1CS. California: University of California Press. ed. Also available in http://www. Also available in http://www. M. Also available in http://www. Université Montpellier II. March 1967.Y. (1987) “Tensegrity Systems for Double-Layer Space Structures”. D.. MAURIN. J... B. February 1971. Montpellier: Laboratoire de Mécanique et Génie Civil. (2002) Conception en structures. January . Université Montpellier II. R. Topping. D. Kenneth Snelson Exhibition: The Nature of Structure. MOTRO. New York.htm MULLER. (1977) "Snelson and Structure".N. (1998) “Definition of tensegrity systems.2).B.kennethsnelson. Rapport d’activités 1999-2002. Also available in http://www. Washington.univmontp2.. R. 182 .pdf MOTRO. (1968) “Kenneth Snelson: The Elegant Solution”. (1976) An Introduction to Tensegrity.C.. Smithsonian Institution. Proceedings of International Conference on the Design and Construction of Non-conventional Structures (Vol. COPLANS. B.April 1989. London: Kogan Page Science. Berkeley.V. (1989) “Catalogue Introduction”. R. R.lirmm. S. Kenneth Snelson BURROWS. in H.. Edinburgh. Y.net/icons/art. pp. R. Extended Bibliography MOTRO. (2003) Tensegrity: Structural Systems for the Future. (1967) "An Interview with Kenneth Snelson".
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