Letter to Joe Clinton

155 Westminster Ave.
Arlington, MA 02174
January 30, 1982

Mr. Joe Clinton
Kean College
Dept. of Industrial Design
Union, NJ 07083

Dear Mr. Clinton,

I wrote to Buckminster Fuller's office asking for more information on the mathematics of tensegrity and Janet Bregman-Taney referred me to you. I am interested in the calculations that go into designing the structures outlined in Fuller's basic tensegrity patent (#3,063,521), for example that in Fig. 7. I am also interested in the calculations that go into designing the more complex tensegrity structures Kenner alludes to in Geodesic Math (especially the rigid tensegrities of Chapter 6).

My interest in tensegrity is twofold: (1)What I've seen of the mathematics is fascinating and I would like to learn more. I didn't find Kenner's "Newtonian" framework very enlightening as a general conceptual model for tensegrity. The calculus framework I found very enlightening, but couldn't see how to extend it to more complex structures. I would like to learn some general mathematical programming techniques which are applicable to any tensegrity I might run into or conceive. This brings me to (2) which is that I've thought of some structures I would like to build (at least as models) and don't know how to do the requisite calculations. I should also add (3) that I think tensegrity is a very interesting construction technique and I would like to see it more widely applied in the design of offices, houses, tents, furniture. I hope by learning the principles myself I can spread it around a little.

I will appreciate any help you can give me in this matter, perhaps just references to theses, etc. that Fuller's students have written.

Bob Burkhardt