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1950s tensile structure may grace London Festival of Architecture

May 1st, 2008 / By: / Landscapes

This June, the London Festival of Architecture may be graced by a vestige of the past in the form of a tensile structure from the 1950s. The original “Skylon,” designed by Philip Powell, Hidalgo Moya and structural engineer Felix Samuely and based on the structural concept of tensegrity, was erected in 1951 on the edge of London’s South Bank for the Festival of Britain that year. London architect Jack Pringle, president of Pringle Brandon architects, is proposing a recreation of the tensile structure—perhaps as an air-inflated temporary scale model of the original—in time for this year’s Festival. “Skylon is one of London’s lost icons,” said Pringle in the Architects’ Journal in February. “People don’t realize how tall and incredibly dramatic Skylon was—and as a pioneering tensile structure, it is also a serious piece of architecture.”

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