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Princeton engineers are building a 92-foot-long replica of the Golden Gate Bridge as part of a $3 million National Science Foundation interactive display that will open in 2012.

Assistant professor Maria Moreyra Garlock is leading the model-building project along with Sylvester Black (pictured in the photo at right), who graduated from Princeton Engineering last year and who did his senior thesis on the Golden Gate bridge.

Interestingly, before the Golden Gate bridge was built, Princeton engineering professor George E. Beggs made and tested a steel model of the bridge tower, built to a scale ratio of 1 to 56. According to the Engineering News-Record of January 25, 1934, Beggs reported his results to some 200 engineers. HIs conclusion? The bridge was sound.

Garlock’s colleague and mentor, the legendary David Billington, is interviewed in the current issue of Boston Architecture. In the interview, Billington talks about bridges (naturally), teamwork, and the importance of imagination in engineering. In the video below, Garlock discusses an exhibit on the mid-20th century structures of Felix Candela, which she and Billington co-curated. The exhibit features models of Candela’s work created by Princeton students.

Photo of Sylvester Black by Frank Wojciechowski.