A hybrid word, the cross of 'tension' and 'integrity'. A structure with tensegrity keeps its shape through equally applied tension.

A concept attributed to either R. Buckminster Fuller or the sculptor Kenneth Snelson, tensegrity is the word used to describe structures made of building blocks (usually pipes) that never touch, but instead are held in place through an elaborate series of very tense wires. Such structures tend to look fragile, but are very strong.

It is possibly through this principle (in whole or part) that cells maintain their shapes (resplete with pseudopoda etc.) and arrange their organelles within the cytoplasm, only here the pipes and wires are cross-linked polyactin microfilaments etc.

Oh! the wond'rous haunting joys of cellular architecture.

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

Tensegrity is the physical phenomena that produces a stable geometric structure with solid members that are arranged in tandem with tense metal cables. The solid members of this system do not touch or support each other directly.

Kenneth Snelson was the first artist to create works dealing with tensegrity. Although Buckminster Fuller takes credit for "inventing" tensegrity, he only coined the name, while Snelson translated it into life. Snelson's works can be seen throughout America because he refuses to send his work abroad.

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