Robots and MADWorkshop Lend a Hand on This Student Design Project in Los Angeles
A student design project that commenced in Los Angeles in 2014 has culminated in Italy, during the 2022 Venice Biennale, thanks to a team comprised of students, robots, and MADWorkshop, the design-innovation incubator cofounded by David and Mary Martin.
Eight years ago, MAD sponsored a University of Southern California undergraduate architecture studio led by Gigante AG principal R. Scott Mitchell to conceive a robot-fabricated overpass. The resulting Arroyo Bridge spans 82 feet in brown-orange steel and ipe and earned an AIA award. “The students learned by doing—from design to zoning and actual building,” recalls David Martin, who’s an architect himself.
Later, the Martins connected with European Cultural Centre senior exhibition organizer Lucia Pedrana and photographs of the bridge model led to its translation from a pragmatic object to Arroyo Bridge Section, a “purely aesthetic and gorgeous” scaled-down version.
The 28-foot-long sculpture is aluminum powder-coated Hot Jazz Red and entirely hand-crafted, first in a L.A. warehouse, then air-freighted to Venice Marco Polo Airport, where it was transferred to a barge wending through the Canale Orfanello. A crane hoisted it to Giardini Marinaressa, about 500 feet from the biennale entry, where Mitchell and three USC grad students completed assembly, its parts bolted rather than welded. Part of the ECC’s “Personal Structures” outdoor exhibition, it’s on view through November 27.
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