Survivor Spotlight: Yakov Ayzengart’s Toothpick Structures

October 30, 2020

Survivor Spotlight: Yakov Ayzengart’s Toothpick Structures

In 1991, Yakov Ayzengart moved from Moldova, Soviet Union to Atlanta, GA. During this move, he brought along his most cherished things; chief among them were his skills as a mechanical engineer. Mr. Ayzengart’s design capabilities have driven his interest and passion for a current hobby of his: building models out of toothpicks!

Mr. Ayzengart’s hobby began about 15 years ago when Fernbank Museum in Atlanta started a contest. Fernbank Museum invited all children in the area to build a bridge out of toothpicks; each bridge would then be tested to see how much weight it could withstand. Mr. Ayzengart and his grandson built a bridge together that was able to sustain up to 28 pounds!

That was Mr. Ayzengart’s first toothpick structure, and since then, he has built replicas of The Eiffel Tower, a Moldovan arch, a St. Petersburg bridge, and many more.

With each new design, Mr. Ayzengart has worked to enhance his process and push the boundaries of what he can achieve. He used his extensive knowledge of engineering and design to create the St. Petersburg bridge model so that it can open and close. However, it isn’t as easy as it may seem. The St. Petersburg bridge model took him about 10 years to conceptualize, design and plan, and each structure takes at least a few months to assemble.

While not every structure takes 10 years to plan, a lot of thought goes into designing each one. Mr. Ayzengart says the most difficult part is connecting all the pieces together to make the final structure, but he has “affection for the entire process and for the final product.”

He truly enjoys his hobby, and that enjoyment is made apparent in the artistry and craftsmanship of his structures.