|Original Press release|
Ronstan International, Inc.
45 High Point Ave., Suite 2
Portsmouth, RI, 02871
Ronstan Provides Structural Rods for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. - Ronstan Tensile Architecture - a leader in end-to-end specialty
contracting services and expert in tensile architecture - provides rods and custom
attachments for an innovative American art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a project supported by Alice Walton and
The Walton Foundation. Her collection, featuring four centuries of American art, is now
on display at the recently opened museum. The stunning multi-building museum is
nestled in a wooded 120-acre (48.6 Ha) park-like setting within walking distance of
The unique architectural design developed for the 201,000-square-foot (20,200 sqm)
Crystal Bridges required several engineering feats-including the design of two glass
bridges that bookend a pond in the center of the museum landscape. Each bridge has a
roof made of locally sourced and fabricated glulam - glued and laminated pine timbers.
While glulam arches are typically curved in one direction, this project required that they curve in two planes to create a double curvature of the roof.
The engineers used bridge technology to create the rod-suspended roof structures. To
achieve the goal of this unprecedented design, they turned to Ronstan Tensile
"Ronstan's products are integral in supporting the roof, especially under wind and lateral loads - they provided the tolerances the contractor was looking for in this project," says Cristobal Correa of Buro Happold, who served as Project Lead Engineer. "At the same time, their sleek, slender look contributes to the elegance of the space."
A total of 650 rods are located in the interior of the buildings, crisscrossed between the glulam beams of the suspended roofing structure. This bracing provides the roof
diaphragms for the hanging bridge structure. Diaphragms are designed to transfer the
forces of wind, seismic, and lateral loads back to the building abutments. Using bridge
engineering principles, the construction team installed anchors in the limestone bedrock to stabilize the surroundings and support the diaphragm system.
Ronstan ARS-4 rods were selected for five of the Crystal Bridges structures. Being only
20 millimeters (3/4 inch) thick, the rods create the needed structural support without
detracting from the impressive, massive wooden roofing structure. The suspended nature
of the structures, supported by the glulam beams, was accomplished by employing
customized rod clevis connections. Ronstan worked with the project team to develop the
custom pieces, which allow for extra articulation compared to a traditional fork
"Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a great example of how tensile architecture
can help to achieve unique engineering and architectural goals," says Matt Berrelli, Sales Engineer with Ronstan. "The rod system provides superior strength and support without intruding on the look of the wooden structure. We are thrilled to have contributed to this cutting-edge project."
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened on November 11, 2011. The project
team consisted of Ronstan Tensile Architecture (Portsmouth, RI), structural and MEP
engineer Buro Happold (New York, NY), metal fabricator Daniel Metals, Inc.
(Trussville, AL), Safdie Architects (Boston, MA), and general contractor Linbeck
About Ronstan Tensile Architecture: Ronstan Tensile Architecture provides the
architectural/engineering communities of North America, Australia and Asia with end-to-end specialty contracting services, technical expertise and bold imagination that have resulted in some of the world's most intriguing examples of tensile architecture. Ronstan maintains the unique capability to provide comprehensive services for small to midsize projects incorporating principles of tensile architecture, including concept development, design assistance, cable and fitting selection, structural analysis and installation. Incorporated in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1950s, Ronstan Tensile Architecture operates offices internationally. For more information, visit