Read here about René Motro, an important tensegrity researcher and innovator. Motro is author of "Tensegrity: Structural Systems for the Future." He was one of the “gang of four,” along with Ture Wester, Pieter Huybers, and François Gabriel, that established the IASS Structural Morphology working group. Through his book and working group he exerted a profound interest on a generation of tensegrity researchers.

Short Biography of René Motro

Motro was introduced to tensegrity by reading Emmerich's work. As Motro wrote in the acknowledgements of "Tensegrity," "For me, the story, the story of the study of tensegrity systems began with David Georges Emmerich's publications that I discovered back in September of 1968. Two months prior to that date I completed my engineering degree and embarked upon architectural studies. His so-called handbook on 'Geometrie constructive' (Constructive Geometry), published one year previously, was for me the equivalent of a life-line after so many years of equations and rationality. Without further delay, I was soon struggling with three metallic tubes and some meters of rope, attempting to carry out the most basic of tensegrity systems. In common with many others I tried to understand this unique constructive system." Tensegrity, p.xv.

René Motro’s current research interests are in the area of space structures; structural morphology, non linear behaviour, membranes form finding, design of tensegrity systems and design process. Born in 1946, Civil Engineer, DI, DE, HDR. Professor, previously Director of the Laboratory for Mechanics and Civil Engineering (University Montpellier 2) René Motro is Editor in chief of the “International Journal of Space Structures”, member of the Editorial Board of the “Journal of International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures” and of three other journals related to civil engineering structures.

Motro received his B.Eng. degree in civil engineering form the Institut National Supérieur des Sciences Appliqués, Lyon, France, in 1968, and the Ph.D. degree from the Université Paul Sabatier in 1975. Doctor es Sciences since 1983 at Montpellier University, he is now Full Professor. He has been the head of the Laboratoire de Mécanique et de Génie Civil (LMGC), Montpellier, France until december 2003. He was a scientific advisor for the “Art de l’ingénieur” exhibition, held at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in 1997. In 2004, he organized the annual symposium of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS). He received several distinctions including the “Tsuboi Award” from the IASS in 1998 and 2007, and the “pioneer Award” from the Research Centre for Space Structures, Guildford, U.K., for his work on tensegrity structures and other space structures. He authored more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 19 chapters in collective books, and he also authored the book Tensegrity: Structural Systems for the Future (Hermes Penton Sciences, 2003). During his academic career, Prof. Motro has successfully led 19 students to their Ph.D.

Vice president of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures since 2003, he is co-founder and has chaired for four years the working group 15 “Structural Morphology”. Chairman of three international seminars on “Structural Morphology” , Chairman for IASS Symposium 2004 in Montpellier, France. His publication list contains more than three hundred items. Among them his book on “Tensegrity” has been published in English, Chinese and French.

Selected Readings

Tensegrity, Structural Systems for the Future

"Tensegrity: structural systems for the future" was René Motro's major work on tensegrity, now out of print.

Structural Morphology of Tensegrity Systems

Structural Morphology of Tensegrity Systems by R. Motro. Abstract: The coupling between form and forces, their structural morphology, is a key point for tensegrity systems. In the first part of this paper we describe the design process of the simplest tensegrity system which was achieved by Kenneth Snelson. Some other simple cells are presented and tensypolyhedra are defined as tensegrity systems which meet polyhedra geometry in a stable equilibrium state. A numerical model giving access to more complex systems, in terms of number of components and geometrical properties, is then evoked. The third part is devoted to linear assemblies of annular cells which can be folded. Some experimental models of the tensegrity ring which is the basic component of this “hollow rope” have been realized and are examined.


Motro's Structural Morphology Group Personal History

Motro's Structural Morphology Group Personal History by Wester. Chapter 1 The First 13 Years Of Structural Morphology Group — A Personal View Ture Wester Associate Professor, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture Inst. for Design & Communication, Philip de Langes Alle 10, DK-1435 Copenhagen K, Denmark 1. The Background In this paper Wester tells a short story about his personal experiences/adventures as chairman for the Structural Morphology Group, IASS working group No 15.


Portal to Architecture
A series of pages on structures in the built environment.
Concepts> Arch, Bridge, Deployable, Fabric, Floor, Frame, Responsive, Pavilion, Scaffold, Tent, Textile, Wall.
Public works> Blur Building, Burning Man, Kurilpa, La Plata, Skylon, Space exploration, Jakob Torus, U of Tokyo, Underwood, BLOB, Tension Pavilion, MOOM Pavillion
Masts > Needle Tower, Warnow, Santiago, Barcelona
Designs> Shed, AA Pavilion, House, Masts by Fagerström, Otypka
Professionals: Agostini, Della Sala, Di Carlo, Fuller, Gómez Jáuregui, Howard, TC, Korkmaz, Motro, Musil, Rhode-Barbarigos, Snelson, Sterk, Tomassian
Students: Alexy, Kreze
See also Portal To Art & Design for decorative artifacts