7 Bridges You Ought to Cross
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.
Last updated: August 12, 2014