Kenneth Snelson: the Father of Tensegrity

Kenneth Snelson was a sculptor and photographer who used the forces of compression and tension to create works of art. Known as the Father of Tensegrity, Snelson defines tensegrity as “solid elements set in space and supporting each other through tension”. However, he prefers to refer to his work as “floating compression” or “endoskeletal prestressed structures”. Similar to da Vinci’s self supporting bridge, Snelson’s artworks rely on the balanced forces of tension and compression to remain standing. Snelson’s works have been shown around the world in the United States, Japan, Germany, and France. He has won several awards including the City of Osaka Civic Environment Award in Osaka, Japan, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center in the United States.


Snelson, Kenneth. “Biography.” Kenneth Snelson,

“Snelson, Kenneth.” Tensegrity - Snelson, Kenneth, Wikispaces,, Kenneth.

Image Source:

By Onderwijsgek (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 nl (], via Wikimedia Commons

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

1927 to 2016