Office: (818) 957-2218
Fax: (818) 957-2604






The MGM Lion in Las Vegas is the largest bronze structure in North America. It stands 45 feet on top of an 18 foot pedestal. A major challenge in realizing this structure was accounting for the temperature differentials that occur over to whole body of the lion from the sunny to shady sides and to assure that they would not adversely affect the shape or structural integrity of the lion. The solution was an interior steel structure with a unique system of rods adjustable in length by utilizing turnbuckle connections to the outer bronze skin.

(schematic of turnbuckles - pdf file, 37Kb)

Von-Mises stress on lion's outer shell

Computer model of supporting steel frame

The finite element analysis method was used to study the interactions between the support frame and the skin under stress from temperature changes and forces of earthquakes, wind, gravity, and in combination with all.

Rendering of lion w/frame and attachments

The lion was first modeled by the artist, Snell M. Johnson as a 3 foot tall sculpture. This physical model was digitized to create a 3D computer model from which the support frame and attachment points were designed and FEA analysis conducted. A full size Styrofoam version of the sculpture was generated from the computer model and used to cast the final bronze.

Bahman Ehsan delivered a talk on the design of this project at the 2000 AISC Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sample Blue Print - pdf file, 262Kb


3-D rendering of lion

View from street


3786 La Crescenta Ave. Suite 205-6 | Glendale, CA 91208
Office:  (818) 957-2218 | Fax: (818) 957-2604
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3786 La Crescenta Ave. Suite 205-6, Glendale, CA 91208