Visionary Manhattan footbridge/elevated park concept wins AISC’s Forge Prize

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The judges have spoken, and the American Institute of Steel Construction’s (AISC) Forge Prize has been awarded for proposed Manhattan project.

AISC says in a statement that “an innovative cantilevered pedestrian bridge and elevated park concept by Rosannah Harding and Matthew Ostrow of HardingOstrow took top honors” at a judging event streamed live on YouTube. The pair took home the $10,000 grand prize.

The Footbridge concept, intended for a site in Manhattan that connects to the existing High Line, marries the raw look of weathering steel with the shine of hammered stainless steel planters that hold trees and other vegetation. Stormwater runoff would drip into bespoke weathering steel bollards on the plaza below, creating an immersive visual and auditory effect in inclement weather.

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Harding and Ostrow worked with fabricator STS Steel, Inc. to refine their design, which capitalizes on the aspects of steel that make it ideal for such a project with much of the structure fabricated offsite for rapid erection. The cantilevered design minimizes the structure’s footprint.

The judges were impressed with the caliber of this year’s finalists. “Competitions provide a context for reimagining,” said judge David Sadinsky of Turner Exhibits. “Opportunities like The Forge Prize allow research and idea exploration through a free process to develop project possibilities. When you are free from physical constraints, the sparks of optimism are free to ignite.”

Ilgar Aziz of SBLM Architects worked with Cast Connex and ultimately took home second place for a graceful “Twig” system of organically inspired modular structural components.
Daphne M. Florán-Meléndez of Lockwood, Andrews, & Newnam, Inc. worked with SteelFab, Inc. on a pedestrian multi-purpose complex that uses stackable steel-framed housing units, which came in third.

The Forge Prize, established by AISC in 2018, recognizes visionary emerging architects for designs that embrace steel as a primary structural component and capitalize on steel’s ability to increase a project’s speed. The three finalists each win $10,000, and the winner takes home an additional $10,000.

The 2021 Forge Prize will open for entries June 1, 2020. Visit forgeprize.com for more information.

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