Roller Coaster Bridge

48-200: Composition Studio
Professors Kai Gutschow and Josh Bard
Second Year, Fall 2012

In the fall of 2012 we were given the assignment of analyzing an object in motion and developing an architectural concept through a process of iterative drawing and abstraction. I chose to use this as an opportunity to incorporate my love of roller coasters with the experiential qualities of architecture.

I based my analysis on the hearline roll, a roller coaster element that twists a body in motion around its center of gravity. After considerable analysis and simulation using a roller coaster design program called “No Limits.” I developed a system of structural deformation based on the magnitude and direction of vector forces on a body as it moves through a heartline roll. Lateral and vertical forces were analyzed and then applied to the structure at specific points to push and pull the spiral in different directions creating the irregular, sculptural form.

A suspended, undulating and twisting pathway navigates through, over, and around the structure and uses visual cues and sightlines in conjunction with the experience of an uneven walking surface to gently disorient pedestrians as they traverse the bridge. The overall experience extends the experience of traversing a heartline on a high speed roller coaster over a much longer timescale. 

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