27 Apr The world’s most architecturally impressive bridges
Bridges and humanity have been related throughout history. Many were designed for the passage of people and others so that all kinds of vehicles can circulate through them.
There are bridges that connect continents and hence their great relevance, but others are admired for their complex architectural design and complex construction.
Architecture not only lives by designing and constructing large and impressive buildings and houses. For decades many renowned architecture studios have built bridges that are truly impressive works of art and engineering.
Tower Bridge: London, England (1894)
It is the most famous bridge in all of London. If it opened in 1894. And it is located near the Tower of London, hence its name.
It is a swinging and suspension bridge. Sir John Wolfe Barry was appointed an engineer with Sir Horace Jones as the architect.
In 1885, a Parliament Act was approved authorizing the construction of the bridge and specifying that the section that was opened had to have a free width of 61 meters and a free height of 41 meters, and that the construction had to be in the Gothic style.
In this way, Barry designed a tilt bridge with two towers built on pillars. The central span was divided into two equal scales or sheets, which could be raised to allow river traffic to pass.
The two side spans were suspension bridges, whose cables are anchored both on the pillars and through bars on the bridge’s upper walkways.
Ponte Vecchio: Florence Italy.(1901)
It is a medieval bridge over the Arno river in Florence (Italy). It is a symbol of the city and one of the most famous bridges in the world, one of the few inhabited bridges that are preserved. It crosses the Arno river at its narrowest point.
The bridge is supported on three arches; the main one has a span of 30 meters and the other two 27 meters. The elevation of the arches varies between 3.5 and 4.4 meters.
In the center of the bridge there are two panoramic terraces: one is covered by the Vasarian corridor; the other houses the Benvenuto Cellini monument, made by Raffaello Romanelli and inaugurated on May 26, 1901. The work, endowed with a fountain, was placed in celebration of the fourth centenary of Cellini’s birth.
The pedestal is decorated with typical motifs from the Cellini era, such as festoons, masks, lion claws, ram heads (emblem of Cosme I), etc.
Golden Gate Bridge. Irving Morrow (1933)
This bridge is perhaps one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Its striking design is the work of a couple of architects, Irving and Gertrude Morrow, who simplified the pedestrian railings, separating them so that the view was not obstructed.
It was completed around 1937 and was then the longest suspension bridge. 1280 meters of open water pass between its two elevated steel towers.
The Golden Gate is suspended on two towers 227 meters high above the water level.
There are fog-breaking lights at the top of the towers, as well as beacons to alert ships and planes to the existence of the bridge.
Millennium bridge (Gateshead, UK), WilkinsonEyre architecture office (1996)
More than a bridge, it is an architectural manifestation: it is made up of a large steel arch that connects the two banks of the Tyne. It is the first swing bridge in the world.
Its rotating but fixed route at both ends, gives both riders and cyclists a fun connection between Gateshead and Newcastle, through the rehabilitated port area. Many call it the ‘Winking Eye Bridge’, because of its shape and how it rises.
Six 45 cm diameter hydraulic jacks rotate the bridge on large bearings to allow small ships and boats to pass underneath. The bridge takes approximately 4 minutes to rotate 40 °, from closed to open, depending on the wind speed.
The construction of the Millennium Brige awarded the architect Wilkinson Eyre the Stirling Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion. Zaha Hadid. (2008)
Designed by the British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, it connects the right bank of the river with the Expo 2008 site. Its plan is in the shape of a gladiolus, it is covered and it houses exhibition rooms on sustainable water management.
This Iraqi-born architect who won the Pritzker Prize defined the project as one of the most important of her career. The structure is intended to imitate a gladiolus stretched out over the Ebro river and is 270 meters long.
The construction method should be highlighted, since the structure was built on dry land to, once completed, move it to its final location on the Ebro channel. This means moving a 140-meter and 2,200-ton structure for 123 longitudinal and 9-meter meters. sides without using any intermediate support.
Is one of few in the world to merge two building typologies, combining engineering infraestructure with architectural elements.
The structure`s intersecting pods allow its weight to be distributed across the four diagrid trusses, instead of a singular element, leading to a reduction in the siza of load-bearing members needed to span its 155m and 125m sections.
The design of the Bridge Pavilion directly relates to the programme of activities within it: the view of the exhibition is inherently linked to the nature of the visitor’s of the path shifts according to what the viewer is seeing at a given moment.