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7 Bridges You Ought to Cross

July 28, 2014 /

Zaragoza-Bridge-Pavilion-Zaha-Hadid.jpgZaragoza Bridge Pavilion. Photo by Fernando Guerra / FG+SG

Making structures to overcome obstacles is inherent in human nature. Although the concept of a bridge is simple in nature, modern bridge design and construction entails serious ingenuity. Today, the construction of bridges is a cross-disciplinary enterprise that requires the close collaboration of artists, architects, designers and engineers.

The history of bridge design dates back to whoever placed the first log across a creek, thus inventing the simplest possible beam bridge. The Romans, who needed their countless aqueducts to span larger distances, took it upon themselves to perfect the arch bridge.

The next revolution in bridge design came about a millenium and a half later with the truss bridge. Relying heavily on the mass production of steel, the invention was largely a product of the Industrial Revolution. The technologically prosporous 19th century also brought the suspension bridge, which consists of supporting cables from two or more anchorages - with San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge as arguably the most iconic example.

The final leap in the modern history of bridge-making was taken by engineers following World War II, who developed the first cable-stayed bridges in Europe. The cable-stayed bridge offers all the advantages of a suspension bridge but at a lesser cost, as they require neither anchorages nor two towers. For this reason, they have been the most popular choice in bridge design since then.

Contemporary examples of the cable-stayed bridge include both Norman Foster's impressive Millau Viaduct and Santiago Calatrava's sophisticated  Puente de la Mujer and Hoofdvaart Bridges, as well as the world's longest tensegrity bridge, Cox Rayner's Kurilpa Bridge in Brisbane, Australia.

More experimental structures have been used by both Zaha Hadid in her bridge-pavilion hybrid made for the EXPO 2008 in Zaragoza and Dominique Perrault's spiralling  Arganzuela Footbridge in Madrid. 

Happy crossing!
    

Puente de la Mujer by Santiago Calatrava in Buenos Aires, Argentina Photo courtesy Santiago Calatrava, LLC

Puente de la Mujer
Santiago Calatrava
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Foster & Partners - Millau Viaduct - Bridge (detail)

Millau Viaduct
Norman Foster & Partners
Gorge du Tarn, France

arganzuela_9.jpg

Arganzuela Footbridge
Dominique Perrault
Madrid, Spain

Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion
Zaha Hadid Architects
Zaragoza, Spain

Three Bridges over the Hoofdvaart by Santiago Calatrava in Haarlemmermeer, The Netherlands Photos courtesy of Santiago Calatrava Archives

Bridges over the Hoofdvaart
Santiago Calatrava
Haarlemmermeer, The Netherlands

kurilpa_6.jpg

Kurilpa Bridge
Cox Rayner
Brisbane, Australia

Almere Bicycle & Pedestrian Bridge by René van Zuuk Architekten in Almere, The Netherlands. Landscape Photo ©Christian Richters

Almere Bicycle & Pedestrian Bridge
René van Zuuk Architekten
Almere, The Netherlands

Last updated: August 12, 2014

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