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The Arroyo Bridge Studio

MADWORKSHOP | USC School of Architecture
2014

The Martin’s funding allowed for a group of students, under the mentorship of R. Scott Mitchell, to form a studio class and answer this real-world client request. Students eagerly began work on a design proposal that explored different methods to achieve the desired result. The final design used a layered branching strategy, adopted from site-specific trees.

In 2013, the Martin’s sponsored a class at the USC School of Architecture tasking students to design a site-specific pedestrian bridge. The bridge needed to sit below the existing tree line and, no matter the angle, would have to blend in with the surroundings. The bridge also needed to integrate into a larger landscaping plan, a plan that would span a 75’ arroyo and shift the usability of the property to take advantage of new open spaces and views.

The Martin’s funding allowed for a group of students, under the mentorship of R. Scott Mitchell, to form a studio class and answer this real-world client request. Students eagerly began work on a design proposal that explored different methods to achieve the desired result. The final design used a layered branching strategy, adopted from site-specific trees.

The layered branching strategy integrates structural members, which in turn influences the sculptural aspect. Every member either supports the bridge or braces one another, maintaining the structural integrity and maintaining the layered design. Viewed from a distance, the irregular branching will blend the bridge into the landscape only coming into view upon approach. Perforated panels will be used to mimic foliage and act as a shading device, further integrating the bridge into its environment.

Currently, the bridge is in its final stages of development. Students have been utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, like 3D measuring tools and satellite imaging, to accurately place the bridge on the site. Students have also worked with steel fabricators to create a system of construction that can be easily produced, broken down, categorized, and re-assembled on site.

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