Through his extensive research, inventions and structural experiments, Buckminster Fuller created the term tensegrity to describe "self-tensioning structures composed of rigid structures and cables, with forces of traction and compression, which form an integrated whole" . In other words, tensegrity is the property demonstrated by a system that employs cables (traction) and rigidity of other elements (usually steel, wood or bamboo) capable of acting under the intrinsic stresses (traction and compression) together and simultaneously, giving greater resistance and formal stability. It creates an interconnected structure that works biologically like muscles and bones, where one element strengthens the other.
Tensegrity: The Latest Architecture and News
Dande-lier – a pavilion designed for the Marina Bay waterfront promenade in Singapore uses PVC pipes and translucent umbrellas to form a reciprocal dome – reimagining everyday items as architectural components. The result is an ethereal shelter, referential of the commonly seen umbrella in Singapore and resembling a dandelion from afar. At night the project becomes a chandelier, lit up in an array of colors.
This investigation by Kuan-Ting Lai, developed as part of his thesis on Reconfigurable Systems of Tensegrity at the University of Stuttgart, is an exploration of the capabilities of structural principles in creating transformable architectural structures.
The project, a prototype made of pneumatic cylinders and polycarbonate panels, explores different methods of reconfiguration based on the basic rules of tensegrity, demonstrating the potential to rapidly adjust the lighting or ventilation conditions offered by the structure.
A group of architecture students from Ball State University, together with professors Gernot Riether and Andrew Wit, have transformed a post-industrial landscape in Muncie, Indiana, into a new destination for the city’s local art fair with the construction of the Underwood Pavilion. The parametric tensegrity structure, made from 56 lightweight, self-shading modules of Elastan fabric, provides visitors with refuge from the sun and framed views of the surrounding landscape.
More about the structure, after the break.