25 July 2008

C3 #279: "Beyond the Bridge"

I'd never come across C3 before stumbling over this issue in a bookshop, but it appears to be the 279th issue of a Korean design journal.

What caught my eye, as may be obvious from the cover image, was an absolutely outstanding footbridge, designed by Juan Miró (architect) and Chuck Naeve (engineer). This private structure spans 80 feet (24.3 metres) over part of Lake Austin in Texas, and connects a guest house to the owner's main home. It's an ultra-slender arch comprising five 125mm steel tubes, with the decking and parapets both formed by bending 12mm plain steel bars. It's designed to mimic the lake's natural reed vegetation, and is the sort of one-off masterpiece that could only ever be built for a private client, free from the constraints of disability compliance or crowd loading.

This book / journal has eight pages of photographs, text and drawings of this magnificent bridge, but also devotes plenty of space to several other recent structures. None of these are quite as great, and indeed some are rather mediocre. The bridges include Marc Mimram's bizarre Feng Hua Bridge; Atkins and Grimshaw's derrick-like Newport City Footbridge; an unusual and interesting distorted lenticular truss from Vienna; Thomas Heatherwick and SKM Anthony Hunt's Rolling Bridge; Arup and Wilkinson Eyre's lavish but visually incomprehensible tensegrity bridge; and others. Most of these are simply too recent to have been covered widely elsewhere.

None of the other bridges are anywhere like as glorious as the Lake Austin footbridge, which is a superb piece of engineering and architecture. But they do include several structures worth looking at.

There's plenty more in the magazine, but as it doesn't relate to bridges, I'll say no more here!

2 comments:

Ranger Bob said...

Fascinating assortment!

My "must see" list grows ever longer...

Sam said...

Dear Happy Pontist

I have taken the liberty of quoting from your blog in a write-up of this journal on my bookshop's website:-

http://www.ribabookshops.com/site/viewtitle.asp?pid=10020

If you would prefer not to be quoted please email me and I will amend the entry.

Your blog looks very interesting and I look forward to having a peruse. I am a bit unoriginal, my favourite is the Brooklyn Bridge.