CEE teams #1, #2
A roundup of summer competition results
It’s the size of a theater catwalk and weighs just 142 pounds. But the gently arched bridge — designed, built and ambitiously named “Calatrava” by CEE students — is the new heavyweight champ of collegiate bridge building. The 21-foot-long span swept a field of 42 finalists to capture top honors at the 2008 National Student Steel Bridge Competition on May 23–24. The name for this year’s entry honors noted Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava while demonstrating some “Cal” school pride.
The victory was UC Berkeley’s first in the contest’s 17-year history. Sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Institute of Steel Construction, the elite competition attracts engineering students from around the country vying to construct the best 1:10 scale model steel bridge. This year’s event drew teams from 182 universities to regional contests that culminated in the finals at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
“Everyone was really dedicated to winning,” says Raman Bhatia (B.S.’08 CEE), the 22-year-old captain of the 31-member Calatrava team. That’s no understatement: Bhatia was one of five graduating Cal seniors who skipped Commencement 2008 in favor of a trip to the finals.
The bridge won first place in the “lightness” and “structural efficiency” categories and finished second in “construction speed” and construction “economy” on its way to seizing the overall title.
Reassembled in Berkeley, Calatrava was painted blue and goes on permanent display in Davis Hall. Visit the team’s website: