Quingpu Pedestrian Bridge / CA-DESIGN


Architects: CA-DESIGN / Architecture and Urban Planning
Location: Quingpu, Shanghai, China
Director in charge: Pedro Pablo Arroyo Alba
Collaborators: Yki Fo (project leader), Chen Junquan, Yang Yixiu, Wang Fan, Wang Xin, Pablo Sendra Fernández, Eva Jiménez del Río, Luo Wei.
Client: Shanghai Qingpu New City Construction Development (Group) Co. Ltd.
Engineering: Bridge Structures Department of Tongji University
Contractor: Shanghai Greenland Construction (Group) Co. Ltd.
Project year: 2004-2008
Site Area: 1,000 sqm

080709_qpb 080926_qpb_1 081008_qpb_1 081008_qpb_2

Learning from the bridges of the great water town of ZhuJiaJiao, or those from the delicate gardens in Suzhou, we decided to link both sides of the 50 meters wide river with a bent path. The bent axis responds to different access conditions and visually adapts to the surroundings. Our strategy of borrowing from local historical references and other variables of the site, together with the objective of revealing the structural performance of the bridge, will generate the final form of the project.

site plan
site plan


The load-span relation recommends the use of the metal truss. In order to resist the strong torsion stress associated with the support-less winding shape of the bridge, we activate structurally all the sides of its distorted volume. Both shores of the river have a contrasting character. This fact is emphasized via designing asymmetric constraints for the structure. The bridge has a simple support on the transversal ramp that faces the rapid and narrow street at the northern access. On the contrary, there is a stiff connection with the longitudinal ramp that connects to the slow and large southern square. The elevation of the bridge adapts itself to the resulting asymmetric diagram of bending momentum. Trying to minimize the amount of different sections, we design a pattern that becomes denser according to the diagram of shear stress.


As other samples from Chinese tradition, we understand that the bridge should provide for a dedicated space on the river, a room over the water, more than merely acting as an engineering device that solves a communication problem. The faces of both the roof and deck are covered with wooden skins. The contrast with the exposed steel profiles makes the structure appear lighter. Furthermore, the sloped ceiling serves as a large reflector for the artificial lighting that is embedded into the handrails. During the day as well, the inner surfaces will trap the glittering reflections of the sun on the water.

Cite: "Quingpu Pedestrian Bridge / CA-DESIGN" 29 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=30449>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Well done. Painting the framework white was risky, but certainly paid off; it accentuates the warmth of the wood roof about (as well as the roof’s angular undulations), brightens the roomlike (rather than bridge-like) interior volume, and enhances it’s own visual appeal as a dynamic skeletal framework. I just hope that rust spots are kept away over time, which should be difficult with all the nooks and crannies in that sort of structure.

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    Over-scaled, unelegant and chunky. Cool shape but i think they just ruined that section of the river.

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      Yeah, I agree. And it seems not comfortable at all. Think of all the steps and cars, bicycles have to go across it…

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        It’s a pedestrian bridge, so it’s not designed for cars to be crossing

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    wonderful!!roof is an important element in asia coz we have annual heavy rain season.

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      这个设计师白德龙 应该不是纯粹的中国人吧,而且这个设计也不玄秘且不笨。其实是很有逻辑的设计,而且有新颖的结构。

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    its a bit of a waste, pointless, too dominering of its landscape, no sense of scale

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    im pretty sure this is more about the engineering than the “spaces” in which case i find it also very intriguing. obviously like 99% of projects built in china these days.. the city planning… could be much better.

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    This design chases its tail. The skewed and awkward form seems to be imposed, rather than arising in response to any site-specific constraints. This in turn demands a cumbersome structure to conteract the torsional forces that arise as a consequence of this form. The cumbersome structure is antithetical to the elegance of a “footbridge” so the steel is painted white to make it “light”…? Clad the top to evoke the Chinese notion of “Space on the Water” and call ‘er done. It is form for form’s sake, which is too bad.

    The concept of “structural density” as an expression of the stresses is interesting and could have been further explored to yeild a more elegant and natural solution.

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