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2016 Zometool Barn Raising Event

2016 Zometool Barn Raising Event

The Zometool Penticosido and the DNA sculpture: In Memory of Fabien Vienne and Reza Sarhangi

Kristóf Fenyvesi, University of Jyväskylä

The construction of the Zometool Penticosido from more than 7000 pieces took place in August 2016 in Jyväskylä, Finland, spanning the entire duration of the Bridges 2016 conference. Children, scholars and artists participated together in this ambitious project, which was initiated by close friends and collaborators of world-renowned designer Fabien Vienne, and friends and colleagues of Bridges president Reza Sarhangi, both of whom passed away in 2016.

Watch the slide-show on the Zometool Penticosido and DNA projects:



Penticosido was a temporary sculpture, on display for a month at the University of Jyväskylä. After taking it apart, its 7000 pieces became available for Finnish children as part of Experience Workshop ( events all over in Finland.

The international Zometool community and the Bridges Organization mourn two outstanding friends: Bridges president Reza Sarhangi (1952-2016), who right from the beginning supported Zometool "barn raising" events at Bridges conferences, and Fabien Vienne (1925-2016), who contributed the largest Zometool barn raisings ever. These are public events in which large groups of people contribute to the construction of a sculpture. The use of "barn raising" for group mathematical constructions probably goes back to early Bridges workshops organized by Eva Knoll.


The name "Penticosido" is a direct reference to Fabien Vienne's oeuvre, as our Zometool construction was a modest tribute to his luminous 70-year design career, crowned with his last solo exhibit at the Chaillot Palace in Paris. That exhibit provided a panoramic view of his excellence in architecture and urban planning, graphics, furniture and game design. Vienne created fabulous geometrical games and co-designed Zometool’s "green struts". He also notably developed a 3D fractal "universe" of Zometool, the "cubic fuzzy precision", which spawned the Zometool Pentigloo construction at Bridges Coimbra 2011 in Portugal, and the Pentidisc at Bridges Enschede 2013 in The Netherlands.

These monstrous but friendly Zometool giants were assembled thanks to the dedicated enthusiasm of many dozens of Bridges participants. The main themes of several past Zometool giant constructions were integrated into this year's Bridges Penticosido. In this regard, our aim was to offer an opportunity for various structural explorations to both mathematicians and non-mathematicians, and also to provide a model for the active study of Vienne’s complex constructions. With Penticosido, we hoped to reawaken interest in the richness of quasiperiodic tessellations, built from a visually recognizable "exceptionally singular" center.

The desire to teach a breadth of subjects to architecture students, especially descriptive geometry and computer aided design, combined with scientific research into connections between art and geometry, inspired László Vörös to construct the first large Zometool model of DNA. The geometric modeling of the molecule was restricted by symmetry properties of Zometool and some practical demands. More information can be found in Vörös's paper on the project:

Penticosido Team
Project leader: Samuel Verbiese
Initiator: Jim Hausman
Creative Team: Amina Buhler-Allen, Jean-Marc Castera, Kristóf Fenyvesi, Paul Hildebrandt, Carlos Neumann, Marc Pelletier, Scott Vorthmann.

Zometool DNA Team
Project leader: László Vörös

The projects were supported by Zometool USA and Experience Workshop Math-Art Movement, Finland.