Proving the beauty and sustainable capability of steel construction, the winning projects of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) 2012-2013 Steel Design Student Competition have been announced. The competition, launched last spring, called for comprehensive and environmentally thoughtful steel designs in two categories. The first, Building to Bridge, sought a plan for a long-span pedestrian bridge whose location would be enriched by the connection it created. And the second, Open, allowed for full flexibility in student design ideas of steel construction.
The ACSA chose winners whose projects represented “creative and innovative use of structural steel in the design solution, successful response of the design to its surrounding context, and successful response to basic architectural concepts.”
Building to Bridge Category, First Place: Stream_Line
Stream_Line by Christopher Garrow, Heather Martin, and Kaitlin Shenk of Philadelphia University designs a pedestrian walkway connecting the north and south ends of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Building off existing abandoned Reading Viaduct railroad tracks, Stream_Line provides an exterior green pathway and an interior pathway for protection from the elements, an exhibition space, a café, and a gift shop. Similar to the High Line in New York City, the bridge is meant for congregation. Situated over Interstate 676, its transparent façade lights up at night “to provide an after hour presence.” The overall project uses sensible materials, like recyclable wood, in addition to its steel construction and plans the bridge’s multiple levels for optimized solar shade.
Open Category, Winner: Injection
Trevor Larsen and Ben Pennell of California Polytechnic State University have reimagined a performance arts center in their winning project, Injection. A steel cube sliced horizontally and vertically to create two voids, then stacked and heavily trussed, is a design that aims to insert “randomness, improvisation, and intimacy into the architecture of musical performance.” The entire building contains three theater spaces, one partially sunken below ground and two “floating” within the steel truss structure. The façade on each side of the center is of a different opacity, corresponding to its solar exposure. The vertical plane of the cube that receives the most light is constructed of photovoltaic cells and assorted ventilation spaces.
Open Category, Winner: Inverted Landscapes
Responsibility for the environmental health of the Tijuana River Watershed is shared the two countries that border it: the United States and Mexico. Inverted Landscape, created by Byron Marroquin and Sal Vargas of Woodbury University, designs an international forum space as a physical steel bridge floating over the water itself. Creating large steel landmasses that parallel the landscape in an inverted view, the project provides a Bi-National Auditorium for debate and collaboration on policies regarding the shared body of water. The jury commended Inverted Landscape’s thoughtfulness on the properties of steel; the design could not be constructed in any other material.
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