Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rubble Helix Progress

Yesterday we added one more rung to our Rubble Helix. This twisted free standing structure being built near Port Hope, Ontario uses no glue or cement! It will stand about 10 feet tall when it is finished and will be completely self supporting. The rungs, each weighing over 300 lbs are suspended 14 inches apart, above one-another. The two columns will eventually twist about 60 degrees over a central axis. The columns step out and around each other, well beyond their original foundation footprints. The structure looks impossibly unstable but it's completely rigid. (We have to climb all over it during the raising of each massive 4 inch thick ladder rung-stone)

The structure can best be interpreted as a whimsical allusion to the primal and essential connection that exists between rocks and people. Common limestone rocks are carefully stacked in this twisted configuration as an inorganic representation of the macromolecular realm of genes and proteins, which make up the basis of life.

All rocks are formed by complex combinations of crystal structures . All crystal configurations 'grow' according to some predetermined pattern based on the certain atom combinations present in the mix. This inorganic 'patterning' may well be the lithological counterpart of organic 'DNA patterning'.

The propensity for ordered reproduction within cells (living and non-living) explains how, and in what form, all structures occur on earth. The free-standing Rubble Helix utilizes the forces of gravity and friction, combined with principles of tensile strength and counterbalance in an otherwise inexplicable demonstration of bilateral order and balance. The spiraling columns of stone are held together and prevented from falling over, by through-bonds across the centre of the helix. Like the microscopic double helix which has all the basic elements of life raveled within its structure, this rising inorganic form explores the idea of coded mineral design on a larger scale.


  1. This is an amazing and wonderful extension of the art and craft of dry stone walling.

  2. Thank you Norman. Looking forward to doing more of this kind of thing with you at Rocktoberfest this year.