09 December 2013

Bridges news roundup

Here are a few news links that you have probably already seen. I'm travelling over the Christmas period, so it will probably be January when I finish off my reports on the IABSE study tour of north-east England.

New Thames footbridge gets planning
I really dislike this so-called Golden Jubilee bridge, which is proposed to cross the Thames between Battersea and Chelsea Harbour in London. The proposed span arrangement, with a short middle span flanked by two larger spans, with correspondingly larger support arches, just seems to have a really awkward rhythm to it. Although the bridge has now won planning consent, it still appears to have no funding. Incidentally, if you don't have a BDonline subscription, you can read their news stories by simply copying-and-pasting their headline into Google, then following the link from there: this bypasses the subscription protection.

£60m boost for Thomas Heatherwick's garden bridge
The Golden Jubilee Bridge is a ridiculous enough proposal, but the Garden Bridge is an absolute disgrace, an absolute eyesore where money is no object if it serves to boost the vanity of all involved. The total project budget is £150m, which is absurd for a bridge which is so utterly unnecessary.

Striking but useless… just like Boris
It seems I am not alone in this opinion. "It has just the right combination of whimsicality and instant-wow theme-park tackiness to make it a likely Boris project."

Shortlist announced for Hisingsbron in Gothenburg
So far as I can tell using Google Translate, five proposals out of 24 submissions have been shortlisted in this competition to design a new moveable bridge. The finalists are Snøhetta / WSP, Zaha Hadid, Tyréns / Beam / Schlaich Bergermann, Dissing + Weitling / Lenonhardt Andrä, and Wilkinson Eyre / Ramboll. That's a mighty impressive roll call of bridge architecture names, along with one or two less so. All five shortlisted entries are available online, where you can play guess-the-architect. All I can say is that three out of the five submissions are quite horrible, and you really have to wonder what the participants were thinking.

Beautiful bridge planned for China's Hunan province evokes knots, Möbius strips
This depressingly awful bridge proposal has been all over the architecture blogs, but few have managed such an inappropriate title. Beautiful? In the eye of the beholder, perhaps. If they are blind.

I told you so, St. Patrick’s Island Bridge
Following flood damage during construction earlier this year, parts of the RFR / Halsall designed footbridge had to be disassembled, setting back the date for the bridge's opening. Tallbridgeguy takes the opportunity to say "I told you so".


Michael McDonagh said...

Regarding St. Patrick's Bridge, unfortunately Tall Bridge Guy's comments are off base. His flood protection idea, for which he says, "I told you so," was simply to raise the island access ramp during floods. Well, the island access ramp was not even built at the time of the June 2013 flood. In fact, the only reason the bridge sustained any damage at all was because it was still under construction and supported on temporary falsework. Had the bridge been completed before the historic flood, it is unlikely it would have sustained any damage, as will be the case for future floods.

Whether the not-yet-constructed island access ramp sustains damage in a severe flood remains to be seen. It's concrete piling will keep it from getting undermined, although floating debris could always be troublesome. But it is a simple secondary structure for which repairs would be relatively easily carried out, as opposed to the complex integrated rotating access platform proposed by Tall Bridge Guy.

Jr. said...

The Gothenburg competition; the winner was announced today.


Designed by Dissing+Weitling, together with ELU (Swedish structural engineering firm), Ljusarkitektur (Swedish light designers) and Leonhardt. The same team actually won the last big bridge competition, Skuru bridge: http://www.trafikverket.se/Privat/Projekt/Stockholm/Vag-222-Skurubron/Om-projektet/Projekttavling-Ny-Skurubro-2011/

Anonymous said...

Hi HP, thanks for the shoutout. Obviously my post was tongue in cheek but sometimes a little kernel of truth is exposed.

I grew up in Calgary, which now seems destined to see flooding as the new normal. I do not recall much thought going into protecting the structure on the island.

Sometimes secondary structures are expensive and difficult to continually repair. I agree my solution is fool hardy (maybe not as crazy as say, a garden bridge for 150 million pounds) but I tried to mix something new with a solution to potential flooding. Can't blame a guy for trying something new.

By the way, why is my solution too expensive but other bridge designs (see garden bridge) worth the money? Who actually is the arbitrator of taste in bridge design?


Helena said...

My eyes are bleeding after looking at the mobius bridge. Please, no more of those. I'd also add that the pledges of funding for the Garden Bridge prompted my first ever 'taxpayer rage' seizure. Or maybe I'm just getting old.