Della Sala, Francesco

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Read here about an early tensegrity researcher and pioneer.


Francesco Della Sala (Napoli, 1912 - Naples, 1989) was an Italian architect and tensegrity pioneer.

He is cited by Fuller in Portfolio and Art News Annual, No.4, 1961 as responsible for the "six-islanded Tensegrity tetrahedron."


In 1947 Francesco Della Sala opened the Technical Study of Engineers and Associated Architects together with the engineer Luigi Cosenza. Immediately after the war, together with Cosenza and others, he designed several complexes of public housing, including the Rione Mazzini and the Rione D'Azeglio.

In the 1950's he dwelled for a while in the United States of America, studying with Walter Gropius.

Returning to Naples, in 1951 he designed, together with Carlo Cocchia and Giulio De Luca, the popular district of Stella Polare in Via Marina. His studio fostered other architectural talents such as Riccardo Dalisi and Massimo Pica Ciamarra.


Della Sala is credited by Burkhardt and others for first creating the T-tetrahedron, also called the zig-zag tetrahedron or truncated tetrahedron, named after the polyhedron that the structure outlines in space. It is composed of si struts and four tendon triangles and was first exhibited at the University of Michigan in 1952 while he was faculty there.

File:Tensegrity Tetrahedron.png
Tensegrity tetrahedron first exhibited by Francesco della Sala in 1952.

This is an idealized della Sala tensegrity tetrahedron, called the "Tensegrity Tetrahedron." Image from Section 2.4 of A Practical Guide to Tensegrity Design, Burkhardt. Link:

Links and References

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