Pedestrian Bridge Design Course Recognized With Structural Engineering Award

Thursday, 13 June 2024

A unique graduate design course has been honored with an award from the Structural Engineers Association of Georgia (SEAOG).

The Georgia Tech Westside Connectivity Bridge Competition received the Outstanding Project Award in the organization’s “other structures and services" category, which includes non-building structures such as towers, monuments, sculptures, art installations, and pavilions.

It is extremely rare for a university course to win a SEAOG award for Engineering Excellence,” said Williams Family Associate Professor Lauren Stewart, a co-instructor of the course. “These awards are typically industry-driven with a focus on real projects.”

Stewart said the organization selects the best projects from around the state every two years to recognize with its Structural Engineering Excellence Awards.

Five people pose with a glass award

Lauren Stewart (2nd from left), Jim Case (center), Charles Kim (2nd from right) and Tony Zivalich (right) accepted the award at SEAOG's Structural Engineering Excellence Awards Ceremony May 16, 2024.

The class, which took place during the Fall 2022 semester, was a collaborative design competition featuring 12 civil engineering and 12 architecture graduate students.

The interdisciplinary student teams worked together to design a pedestrian bridge that would provide safe passage from the John Lewis Student Center to the Science Square project under construction on the west side of campus. The class also had the opportunity to travel to London to seek inspiration from the city's iconic foot bridges.

A model of a bridge with people sitting at a conference table

A model of the winning concept from the Westside Community Connector Bridge Class.

The winning team’s ideas will be used as inspiration to one day make this type of campus pedestrian bridge a reality. Architecture student Charles Kim and civil engineering student Isaac Wasson were selected as the winning team from five finalists at the end of the course.

Their design combined a convex pedestrian walkway and a concave bicycle path. In its awards program, SEAOG noted that “the efficiency of the bridge was enhanced by the use of FP decking in lieu of a heavier and more corrosion-prone concrete and metal deck system.”

In addition to Stewart, the students in the course worked with a mix of instructors from industry and academia. Daniel Baerlecken, an associate professor in the School of Architecture, and Jim Case, a senior principal at engineering firm Uzun+Case, were co-instructors for the course.

The students also received input from Tony Zivalich, Georgia Tech’s associate vice president for real estate development, Landscape Architect Jason Gregory, and Associate Director of Strategic Planning Dan Nemec.

“This award is a testament to the incredibly unique, real-world experience that we gave our students by having them work in teams with architects, industry professionals, and other various stakeholders,” Stewart said. “We are all very proud to have been a part of such an impactful project.”

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