Structural Design Bridge Competition

Designed by Alex Wright and Robert Clark for ARCH3240: Intro to Structural Design with Kirk Martini, Fall 2019

In this design challenge, we were tasked with designing a modular structural bridge. We were given a small box of chipboard and had 15 minutes to construct our bridge without adhesive or glue. We were given two days to prepare, with a partner, a strategy to design a bridge that could be assembled to span two feet across, hold as much weight as possible, and be able to be designed out of the box in a limited 15 minutes of time. Our design, which is shown here was able to be constructed in only 10 minutes and hold an impressive 35 pounds made out of just chipboard and no adhesive!

Pod Project: PVC (Personal Versus Collective)

The pod project is a first year architecture student challenge. In small groups, students must choose a recycled, reused, or upcycled material to design a small pavilion. On the due date, called "Pod Night" students must spend all night in their pod before the final review.

The design strategy driving our pod project is how modular design can create dynamic patterns that cast interesting shadows throughout the day. By separating the PVC Pod into three different zones, each of us on the team have a spatial condition. Tommy likes his privacy so his portion of the pod is in the middle, surrounded by walls. Maddie enjoys having some people over so she is on the side of the pod which has a wall but is semi open. Alex wants his side of the pod to have the most collective space so he can invite his friends to hang out. Alex's zone is the most open, with only one wall.

Material Sourcing:

55% Ferguson Plumbing (reused PVC) 25% Habitat for Humanity (reused PVC) 20% UVA Facilities Management (reused)

All of the PVC pipes obtained were upcycled from these three companies and organizations at zero cost. The pipes that were selected were old, dirty, broken or deemed 'unusable.' Furthermore, all of these materials were sourced within a 5 minute commute of the University of Virginia (local Charlottesville businesses). At the end of this project after final review, all of the materials were appropriately recycled.

Design intentions vs design realized

V-Ray Practice: Therme Vals by Peter Zumthor

Originally produced for ARCH 2710: Computer Aided Architectural Design, 3D Geometric Modeling and Visualization with Professor Earl Mark at UVA School of Architecture, Fall 2018

Sun Study.mp4

If you are having trouble viewing the video, please use this link for access:


Rockite Experimental Spatial Studies

Originally produced for ARCH 3010: New York Studio with Professor Seth McDowell at UVA School of Architecture, Fall 2019

Biophilia- A Pavilion for the Nature Lover

Originally made for ARCH 1020: Lessons in Making with Professor Sanda Illisecu at UVA SARC, Fall 2017 (1st semester, 1st year)

Welcome to Biophilia. Imagine a journey which can enlighten and delight one’s perspective and fostering a greater relationship to the beauty of the natural environment. The viewer will walk along a path from either the parking lot or House 10, and encounter a large hard maple wood structure and a staircase, connected to a pavilion. The frame of my pavilion reflects that of a tree. Furthermore, this frame actually encases a maple tree. After climbing up the staircase, they will see a partial view of the tree encased in the frame, and be challenged to continue to climb up the structure. By climbing up each soft maple wood platform, the individual will circumambulate about the tree pavilion, looking at new views of the tree along the way. By the time they reach the top, the hard work of the journey pays off as one can finally see the full view of the beautiful forestry. This meditative adventure honors the mysticism of nature and creates a relationship to the viewer. Finally, after delighting with childlike awe in the amazing presence of nature (and aligning the souls of adulthood and childhood as Emerson suggests), one ends their journey by sliding down a steel pole. Biophilia shall generate a community of nature lovers. As stated previously, there will be a tree planted within the center of my design. After around 20 years, the maple wood of the frame will be weathered. This means around every 20 or so years, the community can come together to rebuild the pavilion.

“To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature… The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson in Nature