T.Y. Lin International’s Hunter Ruthrauff, Senior Architectural Designer, Wins 2021 Forge Prize of the American Institute of Steel Construction


T.Y. Lin International (TYLI), a globally recognized full-service infrastructure consulting firm, announces that Hunter Ruthrauff, Senior Architectural Designer, has been honored with the 2021 Forge Prize of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). The Forge Prize celebrates emerging architects who create visionary designs that embrace steel as the primary structural component while exploring ways to increase project speed. Ruthrauff won the Forge Prize for his innovative design of a 3D-printed steel pedestrian bridge conceived for a site in Balboa Park in San Diego, California.

For his theoretical project, Ruthrauff designed a modern spandrel arch/truss hybrid that uses parametric mesh relaxation to define the structure’s signature freeform geometry. The open deck of the bridge provides panoramic views, with large hammocks over four apertures that provide storage. Ruthrauff’s aesthetic and organic concept drew from such inspiration as Spanish-style architecture, local flora, the nearby Cabrillo Bridge, and San Diego’s Florida Canyon Trail network.

As part of the competition, Ruthrauff worked with a steel fabricator before presenting his final concepts to the judges during a live YouTube event. The judges were particularly impressed that Ruthrauff’s design showcased the unconventional shapes that are possible with 3D-printed structural steel. They also expressed confidence that his industry-leading design will be built in the future.

According to the official AISC press release, “I don’t think any of us have a doubt in our mind that it’s going to come together and be a catalyst for the rest of us across the country,” said Forge Prize judge Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP, Associate at Adjaye Associates Architects. “[Ruthrauff] really convinced us that [he] can actually help solve some of the infrastructure issues that are plaguing our nation.”

As the winner of the Forge Prize, Ruthrauff received a $10,000 grand prize, as well as an invitation to present before an audience of the industry's best minds at NASCC: The Virtual Steel Conference on April 12, 2021.