NERVES OF STEEL

Installed at CNR in Pisa, Italy

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TENSEGRITY

A tensegrity structure consists of a set of disjoint struts, tied together by cables connecting the endpoints of the struts and nothing more. The term tensegrity is a portmanteau of “tensional” and “integrity” and it refers to the integrity of a stable structure balanced by struc- tural elements carrying pre-tension (cables) or pre-compression (struts) forces.

SOLID LIKE A ROCK

These structures are known for their desirable aesthetic and structural qualities, which are explored in architecture and art. Their perceived lightness, where the heavy elements (struts) are held together only by a net of a few cables, is the distinct visual feature of these structures. Tensegrities are lightweight, while enjoying solid mechanical stability. Moreover, no welded joints are required, as struts are only connected through cables, facilitating fabrication.

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MANUALLY ASSEMBLED

We drilled one hole at a tube extremity for each incident cable; the hole position was computed by carefully taking into account the insertion angle and the tube width. Bent bolts were inserted in the holes, and cable ends were secured to them with threaded cable terminals. Pre-stress was added by using tensioners in each cable.