Mónica Martínez, winner in the Science Promotion and Dissemination Awards of the UAH

Lunes, 15 febrero 2021

Monica Martínez Martínez, PhD and Professor of the School of Architecture of the UAH, has been the winner in the category 'best communication initiative in audiovisual format (video)' in the Awards of promotion and scientific dissemination of Universidad de Alcalá.

Monica Martínez has been the winner in this call thanks to the videos of dissemination of the Spaguetti Bridge contest, which have contributed very significantly to a better knowledge of the studies and research of Architecture.

- First of all, many congratulations for the award you have received. Can you tell us what the Spaguetti Bridge job for which you obtained this award has consisted?

The work Spaguetti Bridge is the result of an initiative carried out since 2016-2017 by a group of professors from the Architecture Department of Universidad de Alcalá. This initiative has been based on promoting an annual competition among the students enrolled in the School of Architecture and even in other faculties of the UAH. In the first two years, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, the competition consisted of the construction of scale models of apartment towers or skyscrapers. With this, enough audiovisual material was produced to achieve the intended diffusion.

As a result of the success of this first competition of towers, we created a YouTube channel called 'Arquitectura y Estructuras UAH' ('Architecture and UAH Structures'), where all the videos produced by our team were posted along with the celebration of the competitions held so far and later.

In the last two years, 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, it was decided to change the theme of the contest in order to give priority to diversity. It was decided to build bridges built with spaghetti: A cheap material, easy to acquire by the participants, which was an important aspect to take into account in the structural design of the model, that managed to work within the limitations of its weight and dimensions and why not, singular.

The basis of the competition was developed taking into account these two aspects: a bridge made of spaghetti according to very precise indications in terms of dimensions, weights, lights between supports, support conditions, etc., defined in the bases.

On both occasions, the competition had two categories, each with a different winner:

Category 1: Bridge with the most innovative structural system. Category 2: Bridge with the most efficient structural system All bridges had to participate in both categories, así́ as in the breaking stage.

The winning bridge to the most innovative structural system was the one with the highest number of points taking into account both the result of the general vote that took place according to the basis of the contest, and that of the jury, at 50%.

Later, , all the bridges were subjected to breakage tests, which consisted of applying a punctual load to the bridge span according to indications also formulated in the bases. The bridge with the most efficient structural system was the one that reached the highest ratio between the maximum load resisted and its own weight.

On both occasions, in the 2018-2019 school year as in 2019-2020, sufficient audiovisual material was produced to achieve the dissemination achieved. 

Monica Martinez.jpg interior
Mónica Martínez Martínez

- What did working with the YouTube channel 'Arquitectura y Estructuras UAH' mean for your teaching project? How many subscribers do you have to the YouTube channel? What is the most watched video?

Within the training of future architects, as in other disciplines, the theoretical concepts and their practical application must be coordinated.

The subjects of building structures, within the teaching of Architecture, require a gradual learning and work, and at the same time constant, starting from basic theoretical knowledge of mathematics, geometry and physics, among others. Although theoretical knowledge is fundamental, so is its practical application, which helps to develop the most intuitive aspects of the architecture profession.

The new teaching methodologies in all University Degrees are committed to the active participation of students, generating proposals and solutions that really involve more than just face-to-face attendance at a master class. Specifically, in the case of the subjects of Building Structures, it´s necessary to carry out exercises and complementary activities outside the classroom, which allow the acquisition of other types of fundamental competences for the professional practice of future graduates of the Degree in Fundamentals of Architecture and Town Planning, Degree in Science and Technology of Construction, and Masters associated with building from the UAH.

In this regard, we decided to submit to the call for Projects for the Promotion of Innovation in the Teaching-Learning Process of the UAH in order to achieve two objectives:

1. Teaching: Increase the motivation, interest and understanding of students for subjects dedicated to the analysis of the structures of construction, as well as their connection with subjects of other areas of knowledge such as Construction, Projects, etc.; Generating work groups between students of different grades and/or Masters degrees at UAH.

2. Dissemination: disseminate the work, knowledge and results obtained by students from different Degrees or Masters of the UAH.

- What was the prizes awarded to the students? Did you get any kind of sponsorship?

All the students participating in both categories received their corresponding certificate of participation in the competition issued by the Department of Architecture. The winning students also received a gift offered by the sponsors they got for the competition.

Given the singularity of the proposed model we have the following sponsorships: Pastas Gallo, Aperitivos Flaper, Ecobuilt arquitectura, School Print Diseño Gráfico, Student Delegation of the School of Architecture and Institutional Marketing and Digital Communication section of the UAH.

- How have the impacts on social networks of this competition affected the studies and research of Architecture at the UAH? What has the Spaguetti Bridge competition meant for the students and participants?

In these first two years, as mentioned above, the proposal in both competitions consisted of the construction of towers of apartments or skyscrapers. The video, linked to the contest was post on the YouTube channel created for this purpose the YouTube channel created for this purpose, which, at this time, has 3,060 subscribers.

The first video we posted on the account records 12,940 views so far. And those related to the following years, 2018-2019, 'Design, Modeling, Construction and Testing of a Bridge Structure Competition: I Concurso Spaguetti Bridge_UAH18/19' with more than 1.065.430 visualizations, 2019-2020 'Concurso SPAGUETTI BRIDGE II. 'Design, modeling, construction and testing of a bridge structure: II Spaguetti Bridge_UAH19/20 contest' with 9.750 visualizations so far. All these videos have been recorded and edited by Mr. David Arribas Ávila.

Therefore, the dissemination results obtained, the result of four years of school and consecutive work, have been extraordinary both for our team and for our students and of course for Universidad de Alcalá.

- What do you have in mind for the next edition of the contest? Do you have any further iniciatives for this course?

The data we have reached support the impact achieved and all this has positively affected the image of our School of Architecture in the eyes of society.

For this year 2020-2021, given the current situation experienced by the pandemic, unfortunately we have had to cancel the competition due to its absolutely face to face nature. But our intention is to continue in future courses with the initiative presented by varying the theme of the competition in order to continue motivating our students, as well as to disseminate and transmit to society the work done.

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