6-Strut Tensegrity
USA, c. 1980
R. Buckminster Fuller

Stainless steel and steel wire
17¼ × 15¾ × 14¼”

When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. —Buckminster Fuller

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.

In general, the system works by joining opposing forces and, according to Fuller, is the "structural basis of nature; capable of, with a minimum of elements, forming a strong structure.” American contemporary sculptor Kenneth Snelson - a former student of Buckminster Fuller's - played an essential role in the development of the structural system, working with pieces composed of rigid and flexible components. —ArchDaily

(Photo: Wright)