Project 1

Form and Function


This project where form and function are taken into consideration in order to structurally meet the guidelines for a bridge opening. The main objective for this project is to design a pedestrian bridge with a 30 x 40 opening. The opening will allow passing vessels to safely continue underneath the bridge. Prototypes for bridges and also mechanisms will have to be constructed in order for the opening to be possible. The form of each bridge and mechanism is documented and tested. Ultimately the altered form of the most successful bridge prototype will be combined to fit the function of the mechanism.

Design Criteria

-Span: 190

-Maximum Height: 100

-Width: 12

-Opening: 30 x 40

-Structural Members must be no longer than 20

-Structural members shall be 1 x 1

-No slope greater than 1:12

-Pedestrian bridge

-Physically handicapped accessible

Bridge prototypes

Arc Bridge Cable Stay Bridge Truss Bridge

-These three bridges were chosen. The Form of each was soon altered in order to fit the function of each mechanism.





Mechanisms & their Functions


-I chose three different artifacts with complicated movements. The first artifacts in this diagram is an umbrella. Each arm of the umbrella consists of joints that allow the mechanisms to extract and contract. This was used as a lifting function. The second artifact was a wire cutter. This mechanism was used to pull and compress as the knob rotated. Also, i found a bottle opener. This was used to either vertically or horizontally move an object as the arms moved in a direct relationship with the center mechanism.

-Each one of these functions was then carefully constructed into each bridge in order to systematically create an opening for passing vessels.







3 x 3 Diagram


-This 3x3 diagram illustrates how the function of each mechanism was carefully constructed into each bridge. The goal was to create a system which interlocked the form and function of which allowed the opening to occur.









Preliminary Design

-For my preliminary design I choose one of the three bridges from the 3x3 diagram. I then had to further alter the bridge in order to properly construct the mechanism and its function into the bridge. I choose to use the Cable stay bridge and the function of the umbrella arm in order to create the opening needed for passing vessels.

Transformation Process

-During the transformation process of the cable stay bridge it grew clear that I had to alter the form of the bridge. If I wanted the function of the umbrella arm to cooperate with the bridge, I had to make some adjustments. I started off with adding a cantilever assembly in order to support the umbrella arm. I proceeded with making sure the cantilever was properly supported by the cables of the original structure. Knowing the umbrella arm was supported, I then added a system of truss supports beside the cantilever for extra support. Large turbine like supports were added on top. Each supported the umbrella arm cables; as they were in motion. In The middle of each one was a rotating mechanism that assisted the umbrella arm as it contracted. A track had to be added in order to keep the opening from moving horizontally as it was lifted.


When designing the mechanism, I had to carefully look how each, and every axis extended and contracted. I then decided that I can take just one arm and use that as a lifting mechanism. Each part of the arm turned on its own axis as it lifted the opening. In order to let each section of the arm move properly I had to make the middle section smaller and leave the outer two sections equal.

Extended-Bridge closed




Contracted-Bridge open

Animated: Mechanism in action








Final Design



Bridge Closed


Bridge Open




Animation: Bridge in action