Tension is a lightweight pavilion with a tensegrity ring and a tensile fabric membrane roof.  Tensegrity is a structural system that was developed by Kenneth Snelson and Buckminster Fuller in the 1960’s.


StructureMode designed this pavilion using pure tensegrity principles and also got heavily involved with its fabrication and construction – helping the fabricator manufacture and assemble the structure.


Only small section timbers were available locally. Therefore, to achieve the long spans and open spaces we devised a way of making the columns using multiple braced timber sections that provided the compression strength and lateral stability required. To combat the problem of termite infestation reinforced concrete pillars were used to lift the timber out of the ground and provide durability. However, to minimise the concrete used we kept the pillars at low level.


Photography by Agnese Sanvito

Having completed practice based research and testing to investigate casting concrete into fabric, StructureMode are now able to use fabric analysis software to predict the stretch when concrete is poured inside and design the necessary fabric patterns.


Using this knowledge StructureMode designed and detailed two new reinforced concrete buildings in Cambodia, which were successfully built in only 8 weeks by the local community and UK volunteers.


Photography by Lindsay Perth

StructureMode are London-based design-led structural engineers with a passion for experimentation and making – turning concepts into reality.

We offer high quality and pro-active services on all our projects, liaising with the Architect or designer to introduce intelligent solutions driven by our enthusiasm for beautiful, sustainable and efficient design.



8a Peacock Yard

Iliffe Street

London SE17 3LH


tel 020 7701 5714



Lûz, an art installation for the Secret Garden Party in 2013, photography by Jody Lawrence