Students in Buffalo Reimagine the Structural Potential of Paper

Dean's List, East
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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Troy Barnes, Stephen Olson, Scott Selin, and Adrian Solecki stand on the Paper Lever over the Buffalo River. (Courtesy Buffalo Rising)

Troy Barnes, Stephen Olson, Scott Selin, and Adrian Solecki stand on the Paper Lever over the Buffalo River. (Courtesy Buffalo Rising)

For most architecture students, a model malfunction won’t land you in the middle of a river, but one group of Buffalonian risk takers at the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, under the direction of Associate Professor Jean La Marche were up for the challenge. Students Troy Barnes, Stephen Olson, Scott Selin, and Adrian Solecki designed and installed half of a bridge—made of cardboard—cantilevered over the Buffalo River, and invited people to step out over the water. The frightening experiment worked, challenging conventional notions of material constraints.

The small structure was built from locally-produced cardboard tubes and is held up using rollers, pulleys, and ropes tied back to disused rails on the site. A supporting frame on a boat used to position the structure “lent the whole operation a nautical feel, fitting with the site,” a spokesman for the team said in a statement. “With one of us on the raft, one manning the ropes, two were left to do the heavy work of pushing the cantilever out six inches at a time. After forty-five minutes, the structure dropped over the edge into place.”

The Buffalo Rising blog visited the installation, even venturing out onto the cardboard cantilever, and has more photos and observations.

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