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A catenary is the curve that an idealized hanging chain or cable assumes under its own weight when supported only at its ends.  This form is unique geometrically because it is the ideal shape for a freestanding arch of constant thickness.

To better understand this form we conducted numerous experiments like the one depicted by animation to the right showing a study of stresses and failures.  

To create something delicate which met the ground as lightly as possible we also spent considerable time refining the form of our arch.  This study is shown in the images of our in progress models above.  

Through the use of nonstandard joinery (peg secured lamination) and atypical building materials (light twine) we were able to create a compelling, free standing structure without nails, bolts, or brackets.

 

stress and failure study of catenary model