Tower tensegraty system


Helsinki Library



Manhattan, NY


Tensegrity Cell

The tensegrity cell has a neutral position balanced by the forces of the elements that compose it. An external force must be applied for the cell to differentiate, however the cell is capable of recovering to its neutral state once the applied force has been removed. As the tensile members from the physical model are replaced with bio-metal (shape-memory alloy), the wires act as an actuator eliminating the need for any external force to actuate the cell. Material behaviour at the building scale will play an important role. The morphology of cells from one state to another will allow the emergence of a system capable of adaptive and dynamic behaviours as illustrated in the following pages.


Structural Loads

The physical model led to a tensegrity-based component that is not dependent on a scale factor, as it does not have any shear loads or bending moment but only actual loads. In using such a system for the design of tower systems, many of the parameters that limit the form and behaviour of buildings are removed leading to the potential for change within vertical systems.  This technology is still developing with hopes of a higher percentage in the near future. Tests were performed at a small scale as illustrated in the above image.


The physical models were used as a working prototype to better understandhow tensegrity can be used to design a new structure system.


Tower Design

The system was used to explore a variety of tower designs based on environmental factors. The physical model allowed a better understanding of the properties, in this case the tower can be actuated to twist if needed.