Needle Tower


This photograph was made quite some time ago in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. This particular sculpture, by Kenneth Snelson, is made with aircraft grade aluminium tubes and stainless steel cable. The pipes do not touch each other, they are held in place only by the flexible cable. The cable only goes from the end of one pipe to another, there are no cables to anchors in the ground. The bottom 3 pipes are fixed into a concrete pedestal. The pipes are about 2 metres in length and the whole sculpture (based on memory) is some 30 or 40 metres tall. This kind of structure (where there is a mix of purely tensile and purely compression components) is known to mathematicians as a "tensigrid". The photograph was made straight up from the centre of the pedestal.

A 20mm lens was used with a Nikon F3 to make this photograph onto Kodachrome 25 film. The exposure was not recorded.

The Sculpture Garden's web site is