thinking about structures from the inside out

We came across this coupling of essential quotes when we were poking around John Zernings blog about Garden Trellises and Architectural Space Frames.

“Applied to architecture and structure, the former is primarily an aesthetic position; the latter is a principle of economy.” wrote Zerning. We find both immensely useful, and made a sign to remind us…”

You might wonder how we ever came across Zerning’s site in the first place, living in the city as we do, with no garden, or even a terrace. We were following the trail of some images that have been flying around the blogs, of a beautiful architecture of wires…

John Zerning

…that Zerning devised for a structure he created, using “the principle of the bicycle wheel applied to a spatial closed system”…

John Zerning

Its first iteration was made out of straws (reminding us how making models of what we want to create can help us figure things out)…

John Zerning

Zernings blog is really about structures and how to think about them. He loves thinking HARD about things from the inside out. No wonder: He’s studied architecture and has a Master of Philosophy Degree in civil engineering (??!!!). We especially LOVE his post  DIY Geodesic Dome that Packs Into a Suitcase with wondrous pictures and comments, like “Interior view of the parachute shelter. The principles of ancient kite technology applied to a contemporary tent”…Oh-h-h-h-h, we see…

….and his own d–i-y work-around for making the domes connectors…

John Zerning

We can’t help but think but seeing his thinking-in-action will help our own. It’s a lesson about how something seemingly off-the-subject, can be so on-target.

9 Responses to thinking about structures from the inside out

  1. chris P 10.17.2012 at 9:55am #

    Sadly after a period of illness John Zerning died earlier this month.
    His works can still be seen in the private gardens of St George’ Fields London W2, his home for many years

  2. Sally 10.22.2012 at 10:05pm #

    We are so sorry to hear that Zerning passed away. We hope that is beautiful works will be preserved and see them in person one day.

  3. geri aron 02.29.2016 at 12:55pm #

    My late husband, Gunther Aron went to the Institute of Design in Chicago and we knew John from there. We saw him often and I remember he returned to Germany and we lost track of him. I am sorry to learn of his death. Gunther died in 2014. I am sorry we didn’t think to try and connect when they were both alive as Gunther often spoke of John.

  4. Sally Schneider 03.02.2016 at 10:33pm #

    We lose track, but don’t lose the connection somehow (my belief). You were lucky to have known him.

  5. geri aron 04.17.2016 at 5:26pm #

    I would like to have a biography of John as I am writing up brief bios of former Institute of Design students for a website for the BAUHAUS CHICAGO FOUNDATION, Inc. Please email [email protected] or [email protected] with any available information thank you!

  6. Sally Schneider 04.18.2016 at 9:33am #

    The only info we have are the links embedded in the article…

  7. Jonathan Wilson 03.31.2018 at 10:01am #

    Sad to hear that John Zerning passed away. I have 6 architectural studies of roof forms that he drew (I believe) in the 60’s. They are stunning with much attention paid to the finer detail.

  8. Sally Schneider 04.02.2018 at 9:08pm #

    He seemed like a rare being.

  9. Jonathan Wilson 04.15.2018 at 12:51pm #

    April 15th 2018
    Reading Chris P’s comment, we decided to see if John Zerning’s “work” was still in the gardens of St George’s Field and low and behold it was – it was padlocked down and easily visible once in the gardens. We had to sneak as a car was driving out but took a photo which we have sent to Paul and Geri.
    If anyone else is interested, let us know and we will email across the photo.

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