The Murinsel (German, literally Mur island) in Graz, Austria, is actually not an island at all, but an artificial floating platform in the middle of the Mur river. This landmark of Graz was designed by New York artist Vito Acconci on the occasion of Graz becoming the 2003 European Capital of Culture.
Mistake #8. Turn classes into PowerPoint shows.
It has become common for instructors to put their lecture notes into PowerPoint and to spend their class time mainly droning through the slides. Classes like that are generally a waste of time for everyone.
Google Sketchup uses plugins to enhance the software. I downloaded and tried one called Keyframe Animation. I am just using the free trial version (same as the paid version) and I may spring $19 bucks for the license.
Here is the final result.
Sooo, I made a quick tutorial to help me remember how to use it. My little rotating bridge is near the end if you want to skip the first part….it looks like you have to watch it full screen at 720p to see anything….
Has this been done? (This is a quick sketch that I made so I don’t forget the concept.)
Moving bridges and Art have been on my brain and I thought this would be fun. You could have levers on the platform that you pull and then you rotate to the other side or stop midway to let small boats by….maybe powered by the current.
I suppose you would need a locking gate of some kind to prevent “mishaps”. I think I need to put some more engineering into this but you get the idea.
I made a quick video of my bridge concept and yes it is still not safe. I added some more rails but I still have openings, so you could fall in the river…
So I thought I could add some stationary rails. Then I worried people may get stuck on them….I will figure it out.
I also thought this bridge would be perfect if you had multiple entrances and exits. Sort of a roundabout for pedestrians. Or in a park with a center sculpture and the bridge spins to multiple pathways.
I learn something new everyday in Google Sketchup and I thought I would put together some training videos for (bridge) engineers. (So look for that.)
In addition, I am looking to teach half day/full day seminars on Sketchup modeling for engineers and students. The plan is to offer a few seminars this fall, starting in the Midwest. (But I will travel if someone wants a course in their neighborhood.)
Seminars will include a disk copy of Sketchup, useful plug-ins, video tutorials, and professional development hours for those that need them. (PDHs) Computers will also be available for hands on training.
The course will give a introduction to Sketchup, modeling tips, and guidance on how to incorporate visualization into your design projects. I may also include tips on 3D photorealistic modeling.
If your interested in taking a class, I am starting a mailing list, go to my about page and send me an email.
I’m tired today, too much noise from a local concert. So being in a cranky mood, and after reading this post on a liberal blog, I got to thinking about engineering.
Now I don’t want this to turn into a political discussion. The part I want to focus on is the phrase, “No We Can’t.” I don’t know about you but I get this message everywhere in engineering. It used to be that we could build roads, bridges and go to the moon. Engineers could do anything. Now we are in the “protect”, “maintain” and standardize era of engineering.
What do you think? Are engineers better today or did we miss our high point. Am I working on the downhill side of bridge design?
Oh here is a quick fuzzy idea for my Megan Wheel bridge 2.0…
Ya know it is totally liberating to ignore structural constraints and the safety of pedestrians. I was out running (anything faster than a walk is considered running..) and I thought Carousel Bridge! It is kinetic like the unfolding bridge and environmental conscious since it is powered by the river current.
You get on one side and glide like a playground merry-go-round to the other side. Kinda like a flat ski lift. Maybe I could put benches on the bridge and you could have coffee on certain parts?
Anyway I haven’t finished it yet. (look for the imaginary supports for the outer ring..) I’m not sure I am going to finish it until I hear from HP if it is an original idea.
I just know he is going to point me to one already built somewhere……
Update: The version of the bridge below would be turned by rollers on the land. (Hidden of course) So the wheel bridge spans the river and no structure is really needed in the water.
Another quick render (lost of noise) and slippery!
Update: The following version would use a spindle in the middle to turn the wheel like a bicycle wheel. I think the one above is more attractive and would allow debris to float underneath. The one below could be raised to let river traffic go by…
Picked as one of Time magazine most influential people.
An engineer and the founder of MIT’s innovative D-Lab, Smith, 47, is a former Peace Corps volunteer who spent parts of her childhood in India and Botswana. She’s the creator of a hammer mill that converts grain to flour and an incubator that does not require electricity. Her design philosophy is elegant: create simple machines that meet particular needs and then build them locally.
What the labs wanted to know was: what separates the star from the average performer? Is it innate or can star performance be learned? Could a program to improve productivity be designed that would help turn average performers into stars?
1) Engineer – The word engineer is derived from the Latin root ingenium, meaning “cleverness”.
2) Mega- two parts
a) Mega is defined as:
(symbol M) is an prefix in the metric system denoting a factor of million. Confirmed in 1960, it comes from the Greek μέγας, meaning great.
b) Megalomania is defined as:
1. A psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.
2. An obsession with grandiose or extravagant things or actions.
So how many “Meganeers” are out there? My architect friend thinks that “starchitects” are actually bad for business and advises against elevating anyone to a podium. I think having heroes is necessary to attracting publicity and students to a profession.
Architects have Starchitects, we have Mega-neers. (just made that up and it shows)
My question for the bridge community. Are bridges by Calatrava worth it? Is the added prominence, notoriety, acclaim, publicity, brochure fodder, cost overruns, special provisions, beauty, and political discussions worth the extra headaches?
I am going to say Yes! I don’t like the way Calgary procured the new SC bridge but think of the publicity the city of Calgary has had for the past two years. Sure some of it is bad publicity but it has raised the city name throughout the world.
But your saying, so what, who needs our city to be publicized? Well think about how things are sold. Museums trumpet their latest Picasso, cities advertise their tallest building, arch, Eiffel tower or golden looking bridge.
The Eiffel tower is a great example of a berated structure that turned into an iconic landmark.
The tower was much criticised by the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore. Newspapers of the day were filled with angry letters from the arts community of Paris.
But is that the point of landmark bridge? Yup! Tourism, beautiful images for the city website and the plain desire to be noticed by the world. What do you think?
I don’t know but it looks interesting….just trying new things.
I was discussing the subject of bridge concepts with a colleague and one of the things he mentioned is the difficulty in thinking outside the box when you know how a bridge actually goes together. Knowing that something will never work is really hard to overcome.
I think that is one of the barriers to engineers being creative. Think how kids and architects (Ha!) can come up with fantastic unbuildable structures while engineers come up with completely buildable square boxes.
We know what can be built and it hinders our ability for experimentation. How to overcome this problem, drinking, maybe, but maybe just playing around with improbable structures to see what happens…
Here is a little 50′x28′ bridge I designed for a accelerated bridge construction demonstration. Not a very exciting design but the bridge was built in five days. The sound is off because, a) its me and 2) I used two different programs to record the sound.
Updated: Some more things about this bridge. I won a small design award for it. The contractors had ten days for construction and were worried that they would not make it but they did and received a bonus. Typically the beams would not be the driving surface. You would usually place a overlay but this is on a gravel road, so no salt is applied to the road in winter. Its an experiment!