– Paul Lucien, P.E., Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Engineering/Architecture Design Division
Each June, the Salvadori Annual Student Design Charrette brings together 100 students from schools all over the city to participate in an all-day design challenge. In the morning, students are given a design challenge related to the built environment, and are asked to create a solution according to a particular set of parameters and using only the materials provided. For the rest of the day, they work in teams made up of students from different schools, with the assistance of professional architects and engineers from New York’s leading firms, who volunteer their time for the event. Solutions are presented and/or tested at the end of the day.
This year, they designed, built, and tested the strength of structures made from spaghetti against the strength of an earthquake! During the event, fifth to eighth grade students were placed in small, mixed-age design teams, mentored by engineers and architects from some of the city’s leading firms. Each team used math and science concepts to design durable water towers, at least 32 inches high, made from a limited amount of fragile material (spaghetti). The efficiency – a a structure’s weight compared to the weight it supports – was measured and each were tested to failure on an earthquake simulator.
Photos from the 2016 Charrette:
Challenges from previous years include: