Monday, September 9, 2013
World's 18 Strangest Bridges
Here's two of them.
The World's 18 Strangest Bridges
The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, which China claims to be the world’s longest, is now open. But it takes more than length to make a great bridge: Advances in design software and construction materials have given bridge architects opportunities to focus on original, striking and sometimes whimsical designs that impress, while keeping function in mind. Here are some of our favorite unusual bridges and why they're architecturally striking.
By Chris Sweeney
3: Henderson Waves
Background: The 118-foot tall Henderson Waves is Singapore's tallest pedestrian bridge, linking Mount Faber Park with Telok Blangah Hill Park.
Why It's Innovative: Pedestrian bridges allow for a certain amount of creativity that's not possible with structures that need to support heavy-duty use. The undulating outer shell of the Henderson Waves is striking, and the inside is shaped into benches where tourists can sit and gaze at nature or the nearby skyline of Singapore City. The bridge, which is about 900 feet long, is illuminated by an array of LED lights each night to bolster its snake-like presence in the midst of two national parks.
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13: Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Background: This award-winning tilt-bridge is the brainchild of Wilkinson Eyre, a London-based architecture firm. It crosses the River Tyne, connecting Gateshead and New Castle.
Why It's Innovative: A system of six hydraulic rams can pivot the bridge's walkway at a 40-degree angle in order to let boats pass. Wilkinson Eyre describes the bridge's movement as looking like a "slowly opening eyelid" when it raises, a process that takes fewer than 5 minutes. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that the bridge was fully constructed before being installed as a single piece by Europe's largest floating crane, Asian Hercules II.