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Read here about tensegrity concepts as they relate to animals, the animal kingdom, and the depiction of animals.


The study of tensegrity in animals is usually an application of Myers, Tom|Myers Anatomy Trains approach to comprehending the interplay of fascia and bone|bone in vertebrates.


Snelson's Use of Horse Names in Tensegrity Sculpture

Snelson, Kenneth|Snelson reports that his sculpture titles come from unorthodox sources: "A number of them are named after discontinued race horse names that he found in a handbook put out by the Jockey Club." These include Free Ride Home, Triple Crown and Easy Landing. [1]

Free Ride Home, one of three Kenneth Snelson tensegrity sculptures on public display, named after a horse.

Triple Crown, one of three Kenneth Snelson tensegrity sculptures on public display, named after a horse.

Easy Landing, one of three Kenneth Snelson tensegrity sculptures on public display, named after a horse.

Horse Injuries and Tensegrity

Rachel Heart, DVM, gives presentations called "Clinical Applications of Tensegrity: Beyond the Motor Unit". In the talk she analyzes activity induced injuries in horses. Heart argues that fascial-web tensegrity principles can be applied to increase the ability to absorb and distribute force, and avoid injury. Click here for Heart's website,


Tomohiro Tachi proposed a novel method for designing tensegrity structures. To illustrate its effectiveness at specifying freeform structures, he illustrated the paper with a tensegrity outlining the form of a rabbit.

Freeform tensegrity outlining the form of a rabbit by Tomohiro Tachi

From the abstract: In this paper, we propose a novel interactive method for flexibly designing tensegrity structures under valid force equilibriums. Unlike previous form-finding techniques that aim to obtain a unique solution by fixing some parameters such as the lengths of elements and force densities, our method provides a design system that allows a user to continuously interact with the form within a multidimensional solution space. First, a valid initial form is generated by converting a given polygon mesh surface into a strut-and-cable network that approximates the mesh, and the form is then perturbed to attain an equilibrium state through a two-step optimization of both node coordinates and force densities. Then, the form can be freely transformed by using a standard 2D input device while the system updates the form on the fly based on the orthogonal projection of a deformation mode into the solution space. The system provides a flexible platform for designing a tensegrity form for use as a static architectural structure or a kinetic deployable system.

A video of Tachi using his freeform method:


Animal Enclosures

Poultry Shed

Nikhil Vyas produced a model of a poultry shed or chicken coop: see Poultry Shed By Vyas for more details.

Poultry Shed By Nikhil Vyas.


Alexy, Christian|Christian Alexy produced tensegrity based enclosures for animals, such as an aviary, pictured below.

Aviray by Alexy, Front View.

References and Links

1 Kenneth Snelson, Forces Made Visible, Hard Press Editions, Lenox, MA, p. 25

Category:Portal To Art & Design | biotensegrity