The Institute of Lightweight Structures in Stuttgart has been involved with breakthrough experimentations regarding alternative building methods inspired by nature. The Movable Guyed Mast is one of the rare projects in this direction that exhibit transformability. A central vertical element under compression, which may be comprised of one or more parts connected with a ball-point joint, is basically stabilized and controlled by tension-loaded cables, creating an articulated kinetic tower. The Movable Guyed Mast can either stiffen to resist or bend to a force coming from a specific direction (for example wind or earthquake), or for aesthetic purposes, by changing the length of the connecting cables. The system is actuated by changing the length of the cables simultaneously with synchronized hydraulic presses located at the anchoring point. Despite the striking degree of flexibility observed in the operational Movable Guyed Mast models, the experiments never gave way to the implementation of an actual structural system. The large number of cables needed to control the structure along with the lack of sophisticated control systems at the time could not render this research project feasible. The idea, though, of combining tensile and compression members in an actual structure was later evolved by Kenneth Snelson in the form of a tensegrity system and also provided the starting point for contemporary projects using pneumatic systems.
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