Bridges was the theme for the Architecture Centre's participation workshop, as part of the Centre's bridge150 season, marking Bristol Suspension Bridge's 150th anniversary.
The day aimed to give girls an insight into the engineering professional and used bridges as a spring-board for this discovery. Year 8 girls from Sir Bernard Lovell School and ten female engineer university students were brought together for a design challenge.
The students took part in a series of exercises, getting to know their mentors and finding out their motivation for becoming engineers, their favourite part of their job or course. The warm up exercise consisted of the teams constructing a bridge structure using only dried spaghetti and marshmallows, working in teams, prizes were given for the bridges that spanned at-least 10cm and were structurally sound enough to withstand the weight of a glue stick.
After taking inspiration from the Architecture's bridge150 playing cards and a short presentation on bridge design the students had a new understanding of bridge engineering and were set their main task for the day: to design and build a small model of a bridge that could span the River Avon and connect the city to the soon to be built 12,000 capacity performance venue.
The students and mentors collaborate to produce 2D designs, deliberating over the bridges' materials and functionality and planning the unique features. The teams then began to transform the design into 3D models. The design teams worked hard alongside their mentors, on completion of the designs, the students presented their models to the other teams and tutors for feedback. Each design was completely different but equally as creative and well though out.
The day was an opportunity for the girls to be inspired by female professionals and gain and insight int to the career of engineering. The Architecture Centre would like to thank the following female professionals and university students for their valuable role of mentors:
Pippa Goldfinger, Maria Pepper, Mariapia Angelino, Suzanne Evans, Felicia Baily, Emily Seabrook and Katie Troughton.