Monday, July 13, 2009

And the Winners Are...

On June 30, I was at the Google SketchUp office in Boulder, CO, as a judge for the 2009 Student Bridge Modeling Competition. (Scroll down on the linked page for a photo of me and the other two judges.)

We spent the whole day looking at over 100 bridges, almost all of which were quite impressive. All potential winners had to be integrated correctly into Google Earth, and had to be actual, existing bridges. Other than that, we based our scoring on four categories:
  1. scope of project/level of difficulty
  2. use of textures and materials
  3. level of detail
  4. overall aesthetics
The winning designer is Jason Wong from Washington State University. He submitted four models in his collection, all of which were perfectly done. I was impressed by the horizontal and vertical curve work in this one. (Clicking the model below will take you the 3D Warehouse, from which you can open the model in either SketchUp or Google Earth.)

But my favorite one from Jason's collection was this beautiful, modern bridge. If you download it, note the use of transparent images for the railings as well as small details like the pictures along the scenic overlook.

The second-place winner is Tobias Merk from Germany. He submitted seven models, but we were most impressed with two of them.

This old, stone bridge has a clock tower at one end, which is meticulously detailed with photos. The textures on the stone piers, deck, and roadway also look just about perfect.

This bridge has structures at both ends, also painted nicely:

Third place went to Nicholas Falbo of Portland State. His model of the St. John's Bridge is extremely detailed, makes great use of textures, and is overall just a gorgeous bridge.

The scoring was very close, so we decided to give a few honorable mentions.

Here's Brian Cast's Gothic bridge in Central Park in New York City, very difficult to model all those curves and splines:

Maja Marek's model of the Mostar bridge in Turkey incorporates the surrounding structures very nicely:

All of the models by "pbsukla" were wonderful, but my favorite was this pedestrian bridge, complete with tourist ads:

Finally, this bike / pedestrian bridge by Scot Lauwasser showed some brilliant horizontal and vertical curve work - not so easy to do in SketchUp!

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