Transforming Seattle’s 520 Floating Bridge

Sponsor: Washington State University; NBBJ; KSI

Type: Open, ideas

Language: English


Early Registration (June 5 to July 4, 2012): $40 
Regular Registration (July 5 to August 10, 2012): $100 

Eligibility: The competition is open to professionals and students of the international design and art communities over the age of 18. Participants may enter as individuals or in teams of up to four members.


5 June, 2012 – Competition Announcement; Early Registration Begins; Inquiry Period Begins
5 July, 2012 – End of Early Registration
20 July, 2012 – Inquiry Deadline
10 August, 2012 – Registration Closes
15 August, 2012 – Submissions Due
21 September, 2012 – Awards Announced at Seattle Design Festival and on Website


First Place – $3,000
Second Place – $1,500
Third Place – $500
Best Student Entry – $500
5 Honorable Mentions – $100 each


Robert E. Hull, FAIA, Architect – Founding Partner and Lead Designer of Miller|Hull Partnership, LLP

Ev Ruffcorn, FAIA, Architect – Design Principal at NBBJ

Shannon Nichol, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP, Landscape Architect – Director of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

Ellen SollodEnvironmental Artist and Designer – Principal at Sollod Studio

Mark Hinshaw, FAIA, FAICP, Urban Designer – Principal and Director of Urban Design at LMN Architects
Moderator: Peter Steinbrueck, FAIA, Architect & Design Strategist, founding principal of Steinbrueck Urban Strategies, LLC

Design Challenge:

The Transforming Seattle’s 520 Floating Bridge 2012 International Design Ideas Competition is challenging the design and art communities to envision new, innovative reuse strategies. The 520 bridge will be decommissioned in 2014 due to high maintenance costs, damage, and the need for additional lanes. The Washington State Department of Transportation is requiring of the new bridge’s design-build team that it be reused or recycled in a sustainable fashion; current trends for the reuse of pontoons have been floating docks, breakwaters and piers, but what else could be done with such a feat of engineering?

The Transforming Seattle’s 520 Floating Bridge 2012 International Design Ideas Competition seeks design proposals which either utilize the bridge in its current state or take the bridge apart and reuse its pontoons at a new site on Lake Washington, Lake Union or in the Puget Sound in Washington State. Designers need to constantly assert the need for advancement in creative reuse; our ideas drive design forward. What is a floating bridge when its function is no longer needed? What can designers do when faced with the design problem of reusing thirty-three floating concrete pontoons?

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