Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design



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    By juvasquez
    Mar 29, '13 3:31 PM EST

    Last week, Keith and Marie left us unattended while they attended a conference in San Francisco. We were given instructions to work on our bridge. We all worked very hard (and struggled at times!) but finally designed our bridge for the Amphitheatre site. When Keith and Marie returned, we showed them our progress. They were very impressed with how much we had accomplished in their absence, which made us all feel very proud.

    Yesterday, members from the Clifton Forge Community came to Blacksburg for the presentation of our bridge design. 

    We spent two days making a model, a technical site plan, and a few watercolor renderings for the presentation. Everything turned out very well, everyone spoke very well, and the project was well received!

    Now, we begin the long process of making construction documents.


    • drums please, Fab?

      can you give a brief description of the design concept?

      it looks nice and everything but i'm not convinced by the stair-to-ramp junction.  just looking at the model the stair is definitely subservient to the ramp but feels like it's just tacked on.  given its relationship i could see it really 'attacking' the ramp and maybe be more perpendicular to the ramp (parallel to the canyon space).  or it could blend more with the ramp as another approach, but right now it seems to be somewhere in between attacking and blending.  also the rail design could help clarify your approach: does it change at the stair or is it the same rail as the ramp, bent down with the stair?

      actually, why do you need the stair at all?  could that area where the forest of columns occurs be some sort of balcony type space cantilevering over the canyon?  and maybe that would give a different node from which to attach the stair (if the stair is required)?

      sorry if this crit isn't wanted, i just can't help it sometimes!

      Mar 30, 13 2:08 pm  · 

      We felt that it was important to create a direct path from the center of Clifton Forge to the site of the Amphitheatre. That's where the ramp comes in, it creates a direct path that is fully accessible by everyone in the town. 

      The stairs were thought of as a way to exit the bridge quickly, and direct people towards the back of house of the Amphitheatre (which isn't included in the model). 

      We are the fourth design/buildLAB to work with Clifton Forge and the Masonic Amphitheatre. Last year's group built the Amphitheatre, the group before tore down the old tire warehouse that was on the site, and the year before conducted an urban planning study for the town. That group created lines and paths through town that connected important features together. The direction of the ramp and stair are directly influenced by those paths.

      And as far as cantilevering over the canyon is concerned, the location of the forest of columns is dictated by the soil's bearing capacity and a nearby sewer line. This project has presented many things that we had to work around, particularly that the project is in the floodway. The bridge is being grandfathered in, which is what allows us to build in the floodway, but we can't build down in the creek or build so much that it disrupts the flow of the floodwater.

      Hope this answered some of your questions!

      Apr 3, 13 8:49 pm  · 

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The Virginia Tech design/buildLAB is a Project Based Experiential Learning program focused on the research, development and implementation of innovative construction methods and architectural designs. Students collaborate with local communities and industry experts to conceive and realize built architecture projects that are both educational and charitable in nature. The blog is run by design/buildLAB students who are designing and building a fieldhouse for the Clifton Forge Little League.

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