Michael McDonough | Architect

Bamboo Bridge

Isometric View of Bamboo Bridge
Isometric View of Bamboo Bridge

The word ‘tensegrity’ is an invention: a contraction of ‘tensional integrity.’ Tensegrity describes a structural-relationship principle in which structural shape is guaranteed by the finitely closed, comprehensively continuous, tensional behaviors of the system and not by the discontinuous and exclusively local compressional member behaviors. Tensegrity provides the ability to yield increasingly without ultimately breaking or coming asunder.

– From Synergetics, by Richard Buckminster Fuller

BambooBridge – the first of its kind anywhere on earth – comprises a one-hundred-feet long (33 meters) polyten truss capable of supporting up to sixty times its own weight, and constructed of a unique high-strength Asian solid bamboo, steel cables, and connectors. Designed by Michael McDonough Architect using the principles of “tensegrity,” it is a essentially a “tensegrity hack” of experimental models developed in the 1960s by Buckminster Fuller and Robert LeRicolais. Located in a temperate redwood rainforest near Mendocino, California, it is being built to demonstrate the structural and aesthetic capabilities of bamboo as an engineered, high-tech material.

Photos (click to enlarge)

Bamboo Bridge side view
Bamboo Bridge Side
Bamboo Bridge plan
Bamboo Bridge Plan
Bamboo Bridge detail
Bamboo Bridge Detail
Bamboo Bridge supports
BambooBridge Supports