Read here about the Needle Tower, one of Kenneth Snelson's most well known works, partially due to its location on the Washington DC Mall.


The Needle Tower, 1968,is composed of aluminum cylinders & stainless steel cable. It measures 60 x 20 x 20 feet, 18.2 x 6 x 6m. It belongs to the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. and stands outdoors on the Washington Mall.

Needle Tower by Snelson photo by BAR photography

Video of 15 people Raising the Needle Tower in 2010

In this video, 15 members of the museum staff up-right the tower following some conservation work, in Hirshhorn Plaza.

Animation of Construction of a Needle Tower

This video animation shows a Needle Tower-like construction. The animation differs in that it is 50% taller (90 feet) and the top cylinders do not taper in size.

Needle Tower as Inspiration for Biotensegrity

The Needle Tower is documented as being the inspiration for researchers to seek in tensegrity structure an explanation for biological mechanical structure and information propagation. See Levin.

Links and References

Kenneth Snelson's website,
Needle Tower on Kenneth Snelson's website,
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden page on Needle Tower,

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