Created by Theo Jansen, Strandbeests (Dutch: strand-beach, beest-beast) literally walk the line between art and engineering. Assembled with simple materials in incredibly intricate ways, they harness the power of the wind in order to move on the hardened sand of beaches at the water’s edge.
While the size, shape and flourishes on each Strandbeest have evolved over time, there are a few key components that allow them to wander about. Some serious math, a few plastic bottles, and a great deal of plastic piping all contribute to this new form of life. The PVC piping, normally used as electrical conduit in Danish buildings, makes up the majority of each creature using various techniques ranging from simple pipe fittings to being heat-formed to serve a specific purposes.
Mostly built through trial and error, the only thing thatrelied on computers was the design of the leg. Thousands of different computer models were generated in order to zero in on the correct ratios needed for the leg system. Jansen calls the result the “Holy Numbers.” His site goes into great detail about them, but put simply, there’s a sweet spot of leg design that allows the maximum propulsion while staying on the ground long enough to support the weight of each Strandbeest.