"Tripping the Void" - Pedestrian Link
Both iconic and fundamental in the worlds of design and construction, bridges bring together engineering and architecture in a unique conjunction: they provide the very essential example of form existing for function. The simple footbridge is one of the earliest known structures, accomplishing the primary function of any horizontal structure: spanning. Their design, both structural and architectural, explicitly and implicitly, complies with this simple requirement. Originally constructed, perhaps, from fallen logs or branches, the development of the bridge has, more directly than any other structure, followed the development of materials themselves. Simply moving from one side to the other of a stream, river, ravine, or street, has, in modern times, been elevated to an art form in itself. Bridge design is one of the most pure areas for testing architectural ideas. Reduced to one programmatic requirement, the bridge cannot hide its structural requirement; it must, instead, be celebrated and exploited, both architecturally and structurally.
Students are challenged to design a single span pedestrian bridge, on a site of the designers’ choosing. The structure must be primarily steel, but otherwise, the material palette is open.
Over 60 students participated, representing schools of Architecture across Canada.