Craig Ellwood’s Pratt Truss

A C C D BridgeDetail

This was an editorial commision for Art Center’s trademark canopy bridge. I took the approach of researching the campus architect Craig Ellwood. His buildings were known to include pratt trusses as a form of trademark for him in his modernist structures. Many times, they were included and served no specific support other than for aesthetics and identifying his buildings. This truss bridge is a very prominent feature of the school’s campus which resides in the tree laced hills above Pasadena, CA. The illustration was printed and circulated in the school’s spring 2005 issue of Dot.

16 Comments on “Craig Ellwood’s Pratt Truss”

  1. the aesthetic, a combination of organic and digital is the most interesting. the craig elwood’s… etc. leaves me with a weird, disgusted face. it would more potent without it. or if it was ‘hidden’

  2. Good, it’s doing it’s job then. I didn’t mention that Craig was also recognized for his ego and a taking a lot credit for work that his associates mostly did, like the Art Center campus. It appears that several of his partners quit for this reason. The editor made me change my caption several times because I referenced some of these events sarcastically. He said well, I don’t think we want to ruffle any feathers.

    P.S. This wasn’t made for decoration.

  3. To the 9:52 comment: Maybe, but that wasn’t the assignment or objective. I appreciate the compliment on the aesthetic, but that wasn’t the whole idea. Perhaps the type is intrusive and could be set better, who knows. Live and learn, but the intrusive ego was an intended part of it. Essentially, the repeated truss and the statement above means the same thing; one being a translation of the other.

  4. If you know the building, you might make the connection. Which since it was published for art center students, that would be the case. But the aesthetic could become a whole catalog for art center, centered around ‘bridging’ things together, combinations of knowledge. Lots of potential.

  5. perhaps… but do you actually think that I didn’t get to this point? Trees and trusses, organic and structural, how modernist and pretty. Where’s the story, the editorial, the perspective? More facades… might as well just take a picture of the campus.

  6. there are two conflicting things going on, it either needs to go more with the truss thing, all the way! or go all the way with the combination of organic & geometric. or perhaps there is an easter egg of some sort.

  7. What communication purposes would those be? Perhaps the type should of remained in a title/caption. But I was looking for immediate information. I felt I should include some type of link to additional inquirey or speculation. If you look at the other submissions for this editorial piece, nearly every single one is an exercise in abstraction or strict documentation. I spent sometime questioning the typography’s presence and in the end you can see my decision. If I was to produce a large piece of this that wasn’t to be replicated in a magazine, I might decide to remove the type and use it for a title… so some rich bastard would buy it to hang on their wall. Oooor not.

  8. Really, my summation of this crit could go like this. It was done and the fact that you had an objection to the typography led to a fairly interesting discussion. Although, I haven’t been in additional discussions concerning Craig Ellwood and the type in the illustration, I can’t say that my objectives had a huge impact, although I obviously did achieve a wider inquirey as intended based on this discussion. Perhaps the type wasn’t LARGE enough!

  9. um, i realize you all had this convo awhile ago… but since i like to add a little more than my two cents sometimes…

    what was most disturbing to me was the tree growing out of the gutter… i didn’t like looking at it either… but i more or less kinda laughed and thought it was perfect… what are those trees called? i have a sneaking susspission they’re not native…

    what i always wanted to know is how someone was able to convince someone else that a trench needed to be dug out of the hillside so that a bridge could be built across it…


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