Lightweight lattice masts


The design of The Miles Stair, Somerset House is based upon the structural form of a stone cantilever stair arranged to spring not from a surrounding wall but turned outside in to bear on a central newel. This post needed to be lightweight and translucent. A version of a lattice or ‘cage’ mast was adopted.

Originally developed by the Russian engineer Vladimir Suchov (1853 – 1939) during Stalin’s steel famines these very lightweight frameworks; triangulated cylinders and hyperbolic paraboloids, found use in capital ships to raise observation platforms above smoke stacks to the limit of optical range-finding, 120 feet above sea level, coincidently the limit imposed on U.S. warships by the requirement to pass under the Brooklyn bridge, in turn a height set by Yankee clippers.

Photograph: Shukhov Tower Shabolovka Moscow 02 by Lite

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