Lawrence Tech wins two awards in steel design competition
Friday, August 27th, 2010
Two Lawrence Tech teams won awards at the 10th ACSA/AISC Steel Design Student Competition for the 2009-2010 academic year administered by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).
The program challenged students, working individually or in teams, to explore a variety of design issues related to the use of steel in design and construction.
The team of Stephen Bonamy and Michael Fontana won second place in the competition to create a structure for the Re-Ligare Institute where people can become reconnected with themselves, others, and nature. The architecture students were challenged to consider ethics, aesthetic, and critical issues facing contemporary civilization, vis-à-vis novel programmatic, technological, environmental, spatial, and phenomenological issues.
Commenting on their entry, “The Vertical Landscape,” the jurors wrote, “Very well thought through in terms of the building experience. The idea is well communicated and well rendered.”
A second entry from Lawrence Tech, “IN[tro]VERSION,” by students Daniel Merritt and Kyle Post won honorable mention in the category.
Adjunct Faculty Steven Schneemann and Assistant Professor Constance Bodurow were the faculty sponsors for both teams.
Below is the commentary submitted by Bonamy and Fontana:
When considering the function of the Re-Ligare institute, the escape from everyday consumerism must be extended to include all persons, not just the occupants. How does the design accommodate the reconnection of the employees, and better yet, can the institute function in a way that is not reliant on their services in the first place? Additionally, the location of the Institute in Midtown Manhattan poses problems with fairness of accessibility. Toll ways and transportation fines create an economic barrier that is intrinsically at odds with the Institute’s main purpose. To solve these problems, the Institute functions as a public vertical park, eliminating the programmatic strictness of prescribed spaces. Private reconnections are fostered in the upper elevations while the more public reconnections are facilitated near the street level. Additionally, a credit station inside the structure will refund all travel expenses to ensure fairness of access to the citizens of New York City.
The incorporation of a proposed Vision 42 light rail system serves as a link between the east and west sides of Manhattan, as well as a direct link to the Re-Ligare Institute. The rail stop at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue offers the opportunity to use the rail junction as a transition from the horizontal park to the vertical structure.
The Institute’s structure is derived from the division and multiplication of a single element to accommodate large, functional shells as well as the flexible structural web that holds these shells together. The undulation of the structure mitigates the wind channel effect that is typical of dense downtown areas while offering suitable proportions to the pedestrian and contextual scales. This division of the main façade helps to dismantle 42nd Street’s prestigious yet intimidating nickname of “Canyon Street.”
Overall, the Institute aims to harbor reconnections beyond just the occupants by creating environments that are self sustaining and equally accessible to all citizens of New York City.