Excerpt:TRAVERSE– an academic project by Arya Panchal from Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University, is part of his undergraduate course in architecture. A pedestrian bridge, located near the fort wall of Lakhpat, Kutch, was designed by taking inspiration from Pole Vault, a famous athletics sport; and furthering it through tectonic explorations, form- derivation and modeling.
Introduction: TRAVERSE is an academic project by Arya Panchal from Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University, as part of his undergraduate course in architecture. A pedestrian bridge, located near the fort wall of Lakhpat, Kutch, was designed by taking inspiration from Pole Vault, a famous athletics sport. The process of form derivation, in this academic project, was a result of experiential metamorphosis; directly translating into architectural tectonics through the process of ‘abstraction’. The movements of the athletes, while performing pole vault, were observed through various available sources such as images and videos. The experiential data, in the form of observations, was processed through the lens of ‘abstraction’ with the help of 2D and 3D diagrams; from which, the architectural form for the pedestrian bridge was arrived at with the help of digital and physical model-making tools. A detailed layer of structural study was then added to this abstract form, in order to arrive at a form for the pedestrian bridge that was rooted in architectural tectonics.
Lakhpat is a fortified town in Kutch, Gujarat, India, with a unique topography of sea on one side of the fort wall and desert on the other. The town has a serene landscape view from the top of the Fortified Bund Wall, frequently visited by tourists. The town is also dotted with rich historical landmarks such as the Lakhpat Gurudwara Sahib, and many prominent sufi shrines. Once the hometown of millionaires and a route for international trading from the Arabian Sea side to the Indian Territory, the town has now become a touristing attraction in the Kutch region.
‘Points in the Landscape’ were the design intervention on and along the fort wall of the Lakhpat town to enhance the experience of the visitors and make them arrive at different pause points, in order to interact with the historical landscape of the place. Designs were developed for a new social landmark that could be climbed up and explored by visitors. The focus in this design studio was to create structures that the visitors might be able to use and touch, and were rooted in the principles of ‘architectural tectonics’. For further details about site, program and design process, visit the Academic Studio page of this project, titled as – Abstraction | Tectonics | Form
The design process of the project began with the first stage titled as – Abstraction. The process of abstraction involved deriving 2D and 3D abstract ideas from a selected topic; in this academic project the topic was the famous athletics sport – Pole Vault. This topic needed to be examined from various perspectives such as, the movement and transformation of the athlete’s body in the act of performing jump, the role played by the pole, landing of the athlete, etc.
Abstract tools helped in representing and reducing these observations to its essential characteristics. The process was carried out with the help of diverse model-making techniques to give justice to the observations/diagrams.
At the end of the abstraction stage, a range of unique ideas/diagrams were generated; each diagram representing a unique possibility to intervene at the given site. After many iterations, one of the ideas was developed in the form of a pedestrian bridge, connecting the top of the fort wall with the white desert.
The pedestrian bridge was proposed in the form of a composite truss forming the walkway, cables and an arch, all using steel as material. The final form that we see here, serves the purpose of a walkway bridge and a viewing deck. The viewing deck is a cantilevered form extruding itself from the middle of the spine of the bridge. For the pedestrians to get off, the bridge ends itself in the barren land (white desert), while the viewing deck opens itself up to the vistas to the other side of the fort wall. All the structural and non-structural junctions were resolved and the final design was represented in the form representation drawings (communicating the complex geometry of the bridge), construction drawings in the form of exploded axonometric and part details, along with a 1:50 scale physical model.
[This Academic Project has been published with text submitted by the student]
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