Photo courtesy Kyle Marren

Bridge of steel

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By Lara Onayak

Ryerson graduate Kyle Marren fused functionality, politics and steel this summer with his award-winning bridge design for the 14th annual Steel Design Student Competition.

Marren’s project, Interjection, won first-place in the border-crossing category at the competition, administered by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA).

Marren graduated from Ryerson in June of this year with an undergraduate degree in architectural science and is currently earning his master’s degree at the University of Calgary.

His proposed border crossing between Spain and Gibraltar examined the consequences of political turmoil and inefficiencies resulting from strict regulations.

Marren says a design can be informed through location, geography and climate, as well as social and political dynamics. His design is based heavily on the unique environment that exists between the two territories.

Marren’s influence in his border-crossing’s design was Gibraltar’s location (its proximity to Africa), the issue of wait times and political unrest as well as the fact that the current main border road intersects with the runway at the airport.

His main objective was for the design to balance the two borders, marking the nations as equal in importance, and to bring people together.

“The design was all about connecting people through the creation of a shared infrastructure that could play host to a wide variety of activities,” said Marren.

The project was designed in an architecture option studio taught by Kendra Schank Smith, who was also Marren’s faculty advisor, during the winter semester of his final year.

Marren received a $2,000 prize and Smith received $875.

The competition, which had approximately 1000 participants, allowed students to choose between two categories. The open category allowed students to select a site and building program. The border-crossing category allowed students to design a border-crossing station between two countries.

Prior to construction, students had to consider restrictions based on size and accessibility as well as practicality. Three-dimensional drawings of the project and its surroundings were required for submission.

“I went through many iterations beginning with more organic geometry and becoming more geometric,” said Marren.

Winners were announced in August. A summary book of all the winners and their projects will be published later in the fall.

“I believe my peers made the biggest difference during my time at Ryerson,” said Marren. “Working among such talented, driven people made me want to work harder and be better.”

The winning projects will be displayed at the 103rd ACSA Annual Meeting in Toronto on March 2015 and the American Institute of Architects National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia on May 2015.


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