Brooklyn Bridge, John A. Roebling and Washington Roebling, 1883
Snapshots of Scripted Bridge, 2020
Scripting the Brooklyn Bridge
Independent Study | Spring 2020
Brooklyn Bridge Study Part 2
Program: Grasshopper, Rhino 6, Lunchbox Plug-in
Through the Van Alen Institute's "Reimagining the Brooklyn Bridge" Competition, I had the opportunity to thoroughly investigate the architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge. Through some in-depth documentation, from Ken Burn's America documentary to articles on the construction in Engineering Magazine, I was able to reconstruct primary elements of the Brooklyn Bridge in Grasshopper script. This side project allowed me to confront some elementary programming problems, such as organizing lists, trees, series, and comments. Grasshopper allows designers to construct simulations that are not possible through typical design software. Models can be more precise and lightweight, allowing for efficient design exploration and fabrication. I believe Rhinoscript and Python will take possibilities even further, by introducing loops, booleans, and time frames.
Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge, 2020
Gh Script Overview
From historic documents, I modeled the tower structures in Rhino and set up origin points at the Brooklyn and Manhattan ends of the bridge. Each of the masonry towers are 930 feet from the anchors, and approximately 1600 feet from each other at the main East River span. From there, I set up the four primary span cables, which suspend the two roadways from the compression towers. Due to the nature of suspension, the primary horizontal trusses supporting the roadway has a raised arc profile across the bridge's span (+30'-0" from the anchor sides). While this condition makes it difficult to model in Rhino/Sketchup, Grasshopper can handle geometric nuances well. Lunchbox's built-in truss functions allows for easy creation of the main spanning trusses. From there, list management can generate the suspension cables, stay cables, roadways, and primary bottom sectional truss.
This was a one-week exercise that served as a case study for Grasshopper development. The project proved that Grasshopper's strength lies in data management through lists and tree manipulation. Several potential next steps: