Sacred Footprint is a permanent installation showcased in the four-story main atrium of the renovated James A. Farley Building, Meta’s New York City headquarters. The two-ton, 50-foot-tall arboreal assembly is a pastiche of different tree species from the Northeast region.
Suspended from two main stainless steel cables that are attached to the base building structure, the sculpture appears to float. Its composition of 86 unique 3D printed castings are based on numerous field-based 3D scans of trees. The individual castings are connected through 30 double helix links that freely rotate, forming a chain. Since each piece moves, finding the natural resting location of the tree was not an easy task.
Silman engineers developed dedicated Grasshopper scripts to help simplify meshes, rationalize the geometry of the spiral links, perform dynamic relaxation on various pieces and support cables, and confirm the structural integrity of connections.
To reduce the overall weight, aluminum was used for the lower section of the tree and the mass of rock and roots it springs from. The upper sections were cast in stainless steel to allow for more precise finishes and increase connection strength.