AIA Florida Merit Award 2009

Gainesville, FL, 2007

Project Objective

Archer Braid is proposed as a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian way that will enhance connectivity between employment centers, multiple residential neighborhoods, schools, businesses, parks, and nature areas.  Archer Braid will provide 8.7 miles of viable commuting alternatives for a large segment of the Gainesville population who normally travel by automobile on SW 20th Avenue and SW Archer Road.  It will reduce commute time between the many adjacent areas with high proximity but low connectivity. 

Beginning Research

This multi-use path separates bicyclists and pedestrians from the automobile to optimize safe riding for all ages, provides ‘safe routes to school’, provides an alternative for non-drivers (elderly or others), and buffers these groups from automobile commuter exhaust plumes noted as unhealthy to nearby pedestrians and cyclists by the Centers for Disease Control. 

Supportive program elements such as mode transfer stations with bicycle parking, repair and refreshment pavilions, park infrastructure, and nature area observation decks are presented as component element design alternatives.   Design alternatives and path visioning proposals have been developed by the Transporting Ecologies Studio, School of Architecture, and the University of Florida in association with the Florida Community Design Center.

Segmentation and Priority

Segment implementation priority recommendations were initiated by first identifying logical segments that would either connect notable destinations or fill gaps between existing infrastructure. Segment designation also considered context (natural or urban), infrastructural requirements (platform, bridge, or on-grade path), the potential for new connections in the natural areas, connections to newly proposed destinations such as Split Rock Park, and intersections with automobile streets.

Cost analysis of each segment considered basic construction for a traditional asphalt path, permeable paver alternatives, specific infrastructure, and the value of the privately owned properties that would be traversed by the Archer Braid. Estimates of the property costs were calculated using Alachua County Property Appraiser land values applied to a 40’ right-of-way.

In some cases, larger portions of the property, legal easements, or long-term lease agreements may be required — these are not included in the cost-benefit calculations. Infrastructure costs are based on average per-mile costs for typical terrain. Our estimates do not consider engineering or design fees which could add 5% to 10% of the actual construction costs. At the time of this report, our best estimate of the total cost of the 8.7 mile Archer Braid project is $15.5 million with a nominally 10’ wide asphalt path including the bridges and platforms required. Individual segment cost estimates are included in this section.

Archer Braid explores placemaking and transit alternatives through the design of a commuter bicycle and pedestrian pathway through urban, institutional, and ecologically sensitive landscapes in Gainesville, Florida. The project proposes to leverage design disciplines toward facilitating the integration of infrastructural, social, civic, public health, natural, technological, and economic forces – typically parsed into solipsistic command and control bureaucracies.

This approach focuses on interdisciplinary teams engaged in design-based scenario modeling and visualizations. The design team was commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation and Planning Organization (MTPO) (joint City and County Commissions) to study alternatives for the placement of an independent bicycle/pedestrian path through existing natural and civic infrastructure; develop strategies that promote use, fitness, and safety; and to provide design concepts for important path components.

Case Studies

There are over 75,000 automobile trips a day to the University of Florida (urban population of around 150,000) even though there are fewer than 20,000 parking spaces. A multi-modal transportation strategy that includes transit, auto, and bicycle infrastructure has been suggested by the MTPO to relieve automobile congestion in and around the University.

The present bicycle infrastructure, although notable, is quite fragmented providing poor general connectivity. The 2004 bicycle masterplan recommendations, Nets, Braids, and Loops call for resources to be focused on potential bicycle commuter corridors (Braids) that could facilitate more routinized use of bicycles as a primary means of transportation. Archer Braid attempts to entwine independent yet frayed threads of lanes and paths that currently exist in broken segments to provide a continuous six-mile linkage between Haile Plantation and the University of Florida campus which will connect many naturals, public, civic commercial, and residential elements in-between.

More than just a component of the transportation infrastructure, this path traverses a sensitive natural water recharge area currently surrounded by low-density development. Therefore, the project is responsible for the stewardship of this important area by providing controlled access and by promoting the value of this important feature.

Design proposals include key program elements such as transit mode switch pavilions, civic gathering elements, hygiene facilities, a bridge over an interstate highway, a bridge over a seven-lane road, a nature observation platform over the wetlands, other nature observatories, repair centers, and connectivity between existing recreation parks.

The design team investigated innovative ad emergent strategies both proposed and applied by conducting case study research, direct observation, and archival analysis including urban, suburban, greenway, and rural interventions that mediate urban space, landscape, transportation infrastructure, transit modes, and architecture in the USA and Europe.

The team imported important strategies for engaging natural areas to maintain hydrologic flows, light access to the understory, maneuvering around endangered species (Bald Egle), and utilizing materials that provide the widest range of access – wheelchair, tricycle, personal mobility device, etc.

By Philip Forget

Investigations, findings, and initial proposals were presented to a steering committee of citizen stakeholders, property owners, and municipal officials. Steering feedback aided refinements, prioritized connection points, and suggested a deeper analysis of right-of-way costs for public and private-owned land. An open citizens workshop was conducted to convey ideas and absorb community concerns and ideas. The design team is in the process of compiling this information with cost benefits and design impact to provide a prioritization schedule for the 27 logical segments that will complete the Archer Braid. Funding is in place for the first phase of this project which could be initiated within 12 to 18 months.



Boulder, Colorado



Student Work

Temporal Shift – Robert Lamb

Temporal Shift’s structure is inspired by the form of a bicycle. In the earliest stages of its conception, much time was spent studying the geometry of a bicycle and how it works. I learned that the bicycle has evolved over time, in tune with technology, to become as efficient as is economically feasible.

This observation and the other information gathering in the case study become evident in the early plans. My design strives for efficiency in movement, and thus, separates riders from those storing their cycles totally. In addition to the removal of stagnant cyclists, the slower pedestrian travel parallels the bike path to allow cyclists a “speedway”, to move through the intervention as efficiently as possible.

As you approach the pavilion you have three options: to continue through, temporarily park your cycle, or store your cycle for a longer period of time. As you move into the pavilion or into the cycle garden, there is a perceived shift in speed. The bicycle garden operates at a much slower pace that the pavilion itself. Cycles are stored in glowing polycarbonate boxes and serve to attract and slow pedestrians and cyclists alike. It is my intention for pedestrians and cyclists to interact within the cycle garden and occupy, “breathing”, spaces created by the tangencies of the cycle boxes.

Insertion into the Ecosystem / Bike Pavilion – Angela Coullias

The sinkhole is a critical part of the site and hindering it from the natural flow of water could create a much larger issue. In relation to the sinkhole, the Florida Aquifer is a major resource for almost the whole state. To be able to provide storage for bikes on the university campus without taking away from the natural landscape would be the biggest achievement. Architecture should work with the land instead of against it.

The curvature of the laminated wood roof will help with the flow of rain or any sort of runoff that is created. The separation of both pedestrians and bicyclists creates fluid movement in and out of the space off of museum road. The method of storing the bikes is easy and cost-effective as well. Other materials are to include perforated metal for the pathways, steel for the structured frame, and other recycled materials. The aspect of working with the land is the cooperation with water and light to other recycled materials. The aspect of working with the land is shown through cooperating with water and light to create a path or option for everyday students/teachers that is appealing. This pavilion is also a hopeful experiment that maybe will encourage people to reconsider bicycling to school the next time around.

The beginning design of the pavilion is inspired by the idea behind the bicycle fender. In the case of the fender, it is meant to block away certain weather conditions that may hinder a cyclist. In this design, the structure helped with those same weather conditions but worked in the opposite way. Following was the idea of contributing to the topography of the land. The design was put there to help create a flow that prevents anything from staying in one place. Whether it is the exterior of the pavilion or the interior aspect where the bikes are stored, it is designed to reflect the aspect of motion and agility making it suitable for the purpose it serves.

Elemental Morphology – Ayesh Bhagvat

Space cannot be clearly distinguished as a homogenous realm but a heterogeneous entity characterizing itself by its functionality and efficiency. This project was designed with the ideals of being a self-sufficient unit completely off the city’s power grid. A combination of solar paneling and electro-chromatic Lumi-walling generates adequate amounts of energy during the day while tinting provides the bicyclist an area of shade and temporary relief from the elements. After sunset, energy collected during the day exponentially expands itself through the LED lighting in the lumi-walls to provide an adequate source of ambient light.

The motive of this was to imply criticism of the modernist sense of renewal accompanied by demolition and erasure, creating in its stead a design symbiotically functioning with the existing landscape. The project circulates on the ideals of compression and expansion, the trussing choreographing the motion of the bicyclist through to its respective points. The form the project takes on in its own ethics and in doing so shows the contradictions and diversions of the structural organization within and without its architecture.

Materials involve symbiotic compositions of steel with glass walling, solar paneling, and interactive Lumi-walling.

Student Revolution – Jackie Treat

Valet Parking for your bicycle. Free maintenance service while you learn.

This pavilion will provide students with the time and ease to drop off their bicycles without the worry of thieves or weather. With the built-in pulley system, university staff will be able to store this equipment with ease and security. Two types of bicycles storage are provided: the valet hung system and the traditional self-storage racks along the east side of the pavilion. These two areas are separated by the unique drainage wall and can be accessed from both sides of the pavilion

Reactive Storage – Joe Hard

Reactive Storage represents an attempt to identify with the language of a bicyclist. Bicyclists are fluid, rhythmic, and constantly adapting. To genuinely design a structure in which their instruments are held, the construction must embody these characteristics while congruently noting the safety needs for both the commuter and his/her property. Reactive Storage spans sloping ground located parallel to an existing sinkhole and links two existing cycle/pedestrian paths.

The structure is constructed with lightweight, modular parts that attach to two large, curving frames which define the fluid movement through the site. The extreme modularity allows the site to be expanded and adapted based on the needs of its users and its surrounding environment. As bicycles are moved stored and removed in secure lockers, the latching design of the units allows the form of the pavilion to be continuously reacting spatially in response to its occupancy. Protective barriers from the environment are multifunctional; they may be utilized as a roof, a wall, or a hybrid of both, and maybe placed at different points or positions along with the frame. These modules react to their environment by rotating or shifting in relation to season and weather.

Floating in the Canopy – JP Estupinan

The bike pavilion was influenced by the natural form of the existing landscape and the tree canopy that covers the site. The idea was to connect the bike path to the main corners of the site, as well as the path that leads through the new theater on campus just to the north. The path comes into the site which is programmed by three bike storage pavilions that float above the bikers.

The bikes are stored on a pulley system that could be locked to the desired height of security into the floating volume. The fourth piece on the site was designed as a place for students or bikers to rest and study/read. The floating pavilion sits over the existing pond to create a sense of relaxation and a place to view circulation and social interaction on the site.

The pavilions are made of a combination of natural and light elements. The pavilion’s exterior shells is made from wood to create a natural feel on the site, and glass to allow light in the pavilions. The glass also allows bikers to see the shadows of bikes that are stored within the storage pavilion during the day and night. All four of the pavilions are held up by the light steel columns that lightly touch the ground.

Natural Reflection – Scarlett Miller

The charge of this project was to design a pavilion to store 50 bicycles. The site is located near a sinkhole at the bend of McCarty Drive and is adjacent to a busy bus stop. The concept driving my design was to let the skin of the pavilion be comprised of bicycles. The wall would be very transparent and open so that as one approaches the pavilion, one will get a sense of how the level of occupation that is taking place within the pavilion. Furthermore, the pavilion would serve as a place for pedestrians and cyclists alike to seek refuge during the frequent rain showers we experience in Florida.

With this in mind, I knew that I wanted to create a pavilion that would celebrate the rain and create a sensual experience for those seeking refuge. This idea led to the creation of a metal roof that slopes down on each end to collect the water and then dispenses it at a single point, creating a wall of water. The water then filters through the landscape and eventually seeps into the sinkhole. The intention of this pavilion was to create a space that celebrates the bicycle and the surrounding nature.

Frame Tectonics – Kristen Cooper

This open-air cycle pavilion is built to house 50 bicycles, by means of either personal storage (use-at-your-own-risk inverted-U racks) or a higher security locking system (attended and controlled vertical hanging racks). The pavilion provides shade and protection from rain to pedestrians and cyclists.

Inspired by the structural simplicity of a bike frame and the way it holds and supports its components, there is one layered wall throughout the core of the pavilion, acting as a sort of datum, backbone, or frame, which contains and supports the rest of the existing structural elements. On the inside of this wall exists the bicycle speedway, the main terminal into the pavilion. From here, cyclists pass the threshold of the wall to the bike racks and then find themselves in the open space of the pavilion.

Carefully placed and mediated intersecting walkways and bike paths allow appropriate access to certain zones and areas of the pavilion. These paths and speedways provide access to McCarty Dr. and the adjacent bus station, Museum Rd., and the walkway to the center of campus.

The orientation of the pavilion on the site is situated next to a sinkhole, to provide a calm setting for a sitting, reading, and studying area as another element of the pavilion. Drink machines and water fountains will be provided.

Vertical Translucence – David Ozawa

One of the primary goals is for the bike pavilion to strategically be placed within the topography of the context of the site. The site naturally rises from the sinkhole out into the boundaries. This creates the largest height change in the ground level to occur from the sinkhole to the northeastern corner of the site. The bike paths chosen take advantage of both high traffic areas of circulation and the height level change creating a fly-over system in which the northeastern path flows down to the southeastern corner by hovering over the path at their intersection.

The space created by the two crossing paths fluid motion provides for the shape of the lockers, stairway, and second level resting place.

The stairway acts as a roundabout system into the locker from the northwestern path and the stair has a straight path filled in alongside the stairs to allow easy transport of the bikes from level to level. The linkage between what is going on at the second and the bottom level in created by the textured glass flooring above the bottom level. While moving within the pavilion people are able to know what is going on around them.

The roof on the second floor acts as a resting point for travelers along the upper path and allows space for bike stopping distance as one rides quickly along the top path. After the roundabout provided by the staircase, the space between the southeastern part and the lockers gives bike riders a place to pause and transition between moving along paths and storing their bike.

A primary design goal was to allow travelers to have the ability to either stop at the pavilion or continue to move through the paths. It was important to set up the pavilion the right way so that travelers can see what is ahead of them and who else is moving throughout the pavilion. The bike pavilion has a constant traffic of bikes which gives the pavilion a constant sense of movement and crossing.

Rhythm and Movement Around a Node – Priya Patel

The program consists of three paths that connect McCarty Drive, Museum Road, and the Reitz Union bus stop. Two of the paths serve not only for movement but also for the storage of bicycles. In them, bikes may be stored on open racks or in secure boxes. The third pah becomes more static in that it becomes a gathering place.

Here, cyclists can get their bikes repaired, purchase something from a vending machine, or learn more about bicycles from the gallery walls. The paths circle around an untouchable node that includes a big tree which may serve as a canopy on top of the program.

Photovoltaic – Mustafa Hussein

A canopy can celebrate moments of pause and relaxation for the weary traveler. In this pavilion for bicycles, the canopy is accentuated and further emphasized by the solid vertical wood members and PV panels on oversized roofs.

Built for 50 bikes, the program of the lightweight structure rises and falls adhering to the natural contour lines of the site. While connectivity has been addressed to make passing through a breeze, the language of the architecture remains simple and conscious in regards to sustainability. The minimum penetration of the heavy timber post construction seems an odd combination with PV roof panels. It does, however, bring a sense of lightness, in contrast, and solid construction to the structure that is striving for exposed truth and endurance in materiality.

The plan uses Museum Road Braid connecting the main bike path with direct access to enter the bike pavilion at the street corner. The juxtaposition of the structure’s main space and the sinkhole on the site creates moments for those wanting to rest or study awhile. There are three different methods of parking bicycles. Each ranging from full lock-up to quick short time interval parking. The PV panels will be used to light the pavilion at night thus promising an increased sense of safety and visibility.

Campus Spoke – Greg Chapman

The end goal of Campus Spoke is to promote bicycling as a viable primary means of transportation to and from the University of Florida by providing a secure and reliable lock-up for faculty and students.

The Campus Spoke is the last “Spoke” in a series of interventions along with the currently proposed Archer Braid as outlined through the Transporting Ecologies Studio and will act to drive all subsequent designs along the path. The braid will ultimately be populated by numerous “Spokes” all designed to increase the overall vitality of the final path.

The plan form was initially developed in response to the edge of a small existing sinkhole which creates a natural line from which to begin.

Movement through the structure is controlled through the perceived compression and tension formed from the interplay between structure and path. The outer path is designed to promote movement with minimal structure surrounding the riders and a widened path to allow for buildable travel lanes. The inner path surrounds the rider with structure and limited travel lanes which will act as a natural traffic calming device to promote a slower pace with more awareness.

McCarty SwitchBack – Gustavo Bonet

McCarty SwitchBack bicycle pavilion is designed to be a functional yet inspiring element on the UF campus. Through the use of wood and concrete, a character is given to the structure that is modern but not devoid of context. The pavilion itself is designed in a way that is conducive for the bicycle rider. This occurs through the use of two major structural anchors or wings that create the configuration of the project. These two sections allow for easy movement in and out of the pavilion by registering with the bicycle traffic from both McCarty Drive and Museum Road.

The formation of the pavilion begins with concrete as a strong but delicate foundation that also allows for water collection and redistribution. As the transition between the foundation and the walking plane begins the concrete then follows at specific points to alleviate the tension that could occur at this threshold as a result of the materiality changes. The areas in which the concrete follows become the storage areas for the bicycles being housed in the facility. McCarty SwitchBack is capable of housing 40 bicycles that provide full shelter from any weather conditions and room for about 20-25 additional units to be stored in the structure without complete protection.

Developing from the language in which the foundation is constructed, wood becomes the primary element that is experienced by the inhabitant. The decking, vertical and overhead elements of the structure will be made of wood. This becomes a system that moves and twists throughout the project creating a rhythm of reveal and closure moments of great exposure to the environment that are both physically and analytical appealing to the inhabitant.

At the core of both structural wings is an area of meditation that can function as a place for leisurely activities for students. Each wing also composes areas for gathering where students can take time to gather their belongings before going to class or just take time to wait for a friend.

Plastic Pavilions “The Virus” – Leno Gamo

The idea of this pavilion with smaller pavilions reproducing all around campus and eventually all around the city was inspired by a “virus spreading effect”. The main pavilion is composed of two shapes that hold 50 bicycles and every other unit 10 bicycles. This pavilion has a designated area for chairs, tables, and bending machines. Some of the smaller pavilions provide “free service kiosks” for repair and maintenance.

The main shapes are designed and then a skeleton is built. Then using marine shrink wrap the shape is acquired. The main structure is also designed out of a similar material inspired by the topography and landscape. The ground is designed to have small shifts in sections to slow down bikers and pedestrians. The ground is designed with lights that create a variety of shadows and reflections not only on the ground but also in the overhead planes.

Purposeful Sculpture – Sarah Vasconi

My design idea was to have a continuous route where people could quickly drop off their bikes and runoff. A clean, unencumbered path to storage that also appears to rise out of the earth with intention and with purpose. A series of walls that sit within the landscape also unknowingly house bicycles. Simple yet effective.