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Hypnotic Bridge: Changsha Bridge, ChinaBy Ananta Dutta
Architecture Tweet 0 Comment(s)
Bridges not only connect people but become a significant landmark and iconic element in the entire skyline of a city. Taking the examples of the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, Tower Bridge of London and even the Howrah Bridge connecting Howrah and Calcutta, we can see that bridges have given that character or identity to the city.
Bridges are made on the concept to reduce the distance between to places overcoming all the obstacles of caverns, valleys, water bodies or any other physical barrier. Interestingly the first bridges were made by nature by a log that fell across the stream. The Chinese had successfully constructed a suspension bridge as early as 206 BC. The Chinese built bridges using timber and later, stone. The oldest surviving stone bridge in China in the Zhaozhou Bridge built around 605 AD during the Sui Dynasty. The ancient Romans were great bridge builders too. They used pozzolana cement made of ingredients like water, lime, sand and volcanic rock. The Iron Bridge in Coalbrookdale, England was built in the 18th century. However materials with high tensile strength like steel was explored with the Industrial Revolution that helped in a big way in building bridges with longer spans.
The future of bridges is now here. Suspension bridges and arched bridges are the things of the past now especially when the NEXT architects have designed a futuristic, sinuous and hypnotic bridge in Changsha, China. This unique design has three different lanes swirling over in a continuous curvaceous manner at different heights. They have also been awarded the first prize in an international design competition for this project.
The designers have described this pedestrian bridge as ‘more than just a connection’. It has been designed on two concepts- intersecting connections of a Mobius ring and a Chinese knot which is an ancient Chinese folk art.
The bridge has a total length of 185 meters and a height of 22 meters. The lighting of the bridge contributes to the whole lighting along the river. The view from the river includes the Dragon King Harbor River, the Meixi Lake, and also the adjacent mountain ranges. This bridge with its distinctive appearance aims to develop an identity of Changsha.
Joan Ramon Casas in his article ‘the bridges of the future or the future of the bridges’, pointed out some small changes in the expected in the design of the newer bridges-
- Use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the design and execution of large bridge projects.
- Concrete and steel with higher performances which means stronger and more resilient material.
- Small adaptations of existing longitudinal configurations: multi-span suspension bridges like in Taizhou Bridge in China, Chacao Bridge in Chile with partially earth-anchored cable-stayed bridges for spans up to 2000 m.
- Use of Prefabrication.
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