12 November 2008

Swiss Bridges: Prologue

In early November, the IABSE British Group organised a trip to Switzerland to make a study tour of various classic bridges, both historic and modern. These included five bridges by Robert Maillart (pictured), one by Christian Menn, and two by Jürg Conzett, as well as several passed in between. I felt very privileged to take part on this trip, and although I anticipated it would be enjoyable, it far surpassed whatever expectations I had for it.

It's going to take several posts to report on this trip properly. Some bridges may get an entire post to themselves, others may be grouped according to location (several bridges were often in very close proximity). Although I'll focus on the bridges themselves, much of the pleasure of the tour came from the company of fellow bridge enthusiasts: engineers, academics, architects, and our very knowledgeable and helpful Swiss hosts, without whom such a well-organised trip would have been almost impossible.

The organisers had helpfully provided background reading on the various structures, although many of us had brought along relevant books as well. But much of what we learnt about the bridges came from anecdotes related by the locals, and also from conversation with each other.

I won't say too much more about what I got from this trip just yet - but suffice to say, it was a thoroughly amazing experience, and one that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys bridges. I'm sure the reasons why will become very clear over the next few posts ...

1 comment:

Alexander Sehlström said...

Hmm. I'm starting to wonder if we went to the same field trip. We visited the same bridges as you and a few more.

Have a look at http://gallery.me.com/alexander.sehlstrom#100016