There has been increasing awareness in recent years of the importance of infrastructure for pedestrians. These additions to the urban environment improve the quality of cities by connecting spaces and shortening travel distances, and their introduction can be beneficial not only to pedestrians but also to cyclists seeking a more environmentally friendly method of transport.
In order to encourage the use of pedestrian infrastructure, here we present footbridges designed by architecture offices and structural engineers, alongside their construction details, to showcase innovative solutions in terms of materials, forms, and structures.
The technical needs of the construction of bridges many times guide the development of the design itself. However, architecture is never put aside, rather the opposite. The aesthetics of bridges that we collect in this article are the result of an intense, demanding, and stimulating dialogue between architecture and engineering, where the search for solutions only ends when both disciplines are fully satisfied.
Whether figuratively or in an urban context, bridges are a strong symbol and often become iconic projects in cities. Building bridges can mean creating connections, new opportunities. But they are also fundamental pieces of infrastructure that solve specific issues in an urban context. As these involve highly technical equipment, with complex constructions and overwhelming bold structural requirements, they require projects that do not need full integration between architecture and engineering and, in many contexts, is a type of projects that architects are not so involved with. Marc Mimram Architecture & Engineering is a Paris-based office comprised of an architecture agency and a structural design office. In its project portfolio, there are several bridges, as well as various other project typologies. We spoke with Marc Mimram about his latest project in Austria, the bridge at Linz, photographed by Erieta Attali.
Architecture remains in constant tension with natural forces. Designed around gravity, climate, and time, buildings are always part of larger systems. Throughout the world, designers have tried to mitigate natural forces by constructing hybrid spaces and structures, artificial areas where nature meets the manmade. Embodying this relationship, canals reflect a desire to direct nature and its flows. Today, these fluid spaces are opening up to new programs, projects that explore modern life and urban vitality.
KILD has been announced as the first place winner for a design competition in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city. The competition sought for innovative and eco-friendly proposals for a pedestrian and cycle bridge that would connect the downtown area to Science Island.
The AIANY + ASLANY Transportation + Infrastructure Design Excellence Awards recognize exceptional design by New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania AIA and ASLA members. The awards program is open to registered architects, landscape architects, and planners.
In a country famous for its below sea level towns, combating flooding has been a key challenge for Dutch designers for centuries, resulting in the construction of numerous dikes, levees and seawalls across the country. But when tasked with creating a new pedestrian link across an urban river park in Nijmegen, NEXT Architects and H+N+S Landscape Architectsdecided to try a different approach: to celebrate the natural event by designing a stepping stone bridge that only becomes useful in high water conditions.
Known as the Zalige Bridge, the structure was completed in March 2016, but only just was given the opportunity to prove itself in January 2018, when water levels in the park rose to 12 m NAP+, the highest point in 15 years.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and Aedas have unveiled the design of a new boundary crossing that will serve as an important transportation exchange point within the Pearl River Delta, linking Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China. Already under construction, the project is expected to be completed in 2019.
Originally slated to be built in place, further research concluded that the design would have placed too much stress of the canal walls. So it was back to the drawing board, and the studio, where the updated design is now under construction. Featuring complex curves and a 12-meter-span, the bridge is now being constructed by MX3D’s sophisticated 3D-printed robot. And with about one-third of the structure already completed, it is back on schedule for a late 2018 installation on Amsterdam’s Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal.
Increasingly close collaboration between architects and engineers has caused an explosion in bridge design over the last few decades, resulting in structures that are both bold yet rational. As a result, cities have exploited bridges as great monuments of design, to foster pride in the residents and promote themselves as a destination for tourists. These ideas have inspired photographer Greig Cranna as he travels the world, capturing the elegance of today's bridge infrastructure.
Cranna has been documenting some of his stunning photography on Instagram, collating it over the past 20 months into a forthcoming book, Sky Architecture—The Transformative Magic of Today's Bridges. In capturing these entrancing structures, the photos show the impact of the bridges as an addition to the landscape and revel in their contemporary silhouettes and designs.
The long-awaited replacement for New York City’s longest bridge, the Tappan Zee, is set to open to the public on Friday, announced Governor Andrew Cuomo. After four years of construction, the first of the $4 billion dollar project’s twin two-span cable-stayed structures will welcome automobile as well as pedestrian and bicycle traffic for the first time.
The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge has opened to the public in Switzerland, offering adrenaline seekers unprecedented views of Europe’s most famous mountain, the Matterhorn. Spanning 494 meters (1620 feet), the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge cuts the 2-day travel distance between the towns of Zermatt and Grächen by nearly 3 hours. The bridge spans the country’s “deepest cut valley,” reaching a height of 85 meters (279 feet) above the ground at its highest point.
Today China inaugurated the world's highest bridge, opening the new crossing to traffic after the structure was completed in September, reports China Central Television (CCTV). Crossing the Nizhu river canyon at 565 meters above water level the Beipanjiang bridge spans 1,341 meters to connect the provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou in the Southwest of the country. The 4-lane bridge is part of a network of new highways around Yunnan and Guizhou that allow access across rugged terrain that was previously largely inaccessible.
Bridges and Highways infrastructure development have rapidly escalated in recent years in Asia Pacific, constituting 60% of the global market. Demand is largely driven by the availability of government road building funds, urbanization growth, and the need to replace or repair aging infrastructure. The Engineering and Maintenance components play a vital role in bridges & highways development as they are key to overall safety, project management and delivery of bridge and highway project and on a larger scale, a reflection of the country’s infrastructure plans and reputation.
Norway’s Public Roads Administration have begun conducting feasibility studies on the installation of what would be the world’s first floating underwater tunnel system. Norway is famous for its fjords, whose incredible depths make traditional bridge building a costly headache. Instead, the most common way to traverse them is through the use of ferries, a system that is both slow and subject to harsh weather conditions. As a result, engineers began looking for a new solution.
Melike Altınışık Architects has won first mention in a competition to design the Kızılırmak Bridge located in Sivas, Turkey. The competition, which was hosted by Sivas Municipality, called for ideas to design a bridge to support pedestrian movement, vehicular transportation, and cycling activities. The proposal aimed to create an “avant-garde looking design approach to obtain coherency between plan and sections, and harmonize the bridge with its topography.”