11 August 2015

10 essential bridges books: Conclusion

Attentive readers will notice I've actually discussed twenty "essential bridges books" here in recent posts.

Older posts

Recent posts

But now it's your chance to tell me: what did I miss out? What is your own "essential" bridges book? Answers in the comments, please!


Paul Mullins said...

Great reviews, however, in my opinion, you have left out Fritz Leonhardt's Brucken, a book that I frequently refer to, however, only in soft copy. The hard copy is extremely elusive.

The Happy Pontist said...

I was pretty sure someone would mention that one! Some time ago, this book was my "holy grail", I couldn't find or afford it. Its reputation was considerable. Once I did track it down, I at one point ended up with 3 copies!

It's a good book but I don't look at it often, and I find it a little bit dull, to be frank. It's less immediately useable than Gottemoeller's Bridgescape, and it is frequently condescending to the reader. I also strongly dislike the sense of puritanism which pervades it, see http://happypontist.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/bridge-criticism-9-bridge-aesthetics-by.html for more.

I'd really like to see an equivalent to one of these books written by an architect. Too much of what engineers write concentrates on the bridge as an object, and its relationship to landscape. The relationship to human context and social purpose is often lacking.

Olivier Francey said...


great list of books. I agree with Paul for the Leonhardt's and would add "Prestressed Concrete Bridges" by Christian Menn in the missing list. A book you can't ignore if you design concrete bridges, and not only because of its author... ;-)

By the way, many thanks for your blog.

Anonymous said...

First, here are 3 Oldies that I prize in my library I'll add more modern favorites later.

Johnson, Bryan and Turneaure
"The Theory and Practice of Modern Framed Structures"
Wiley & Sons, 1905
561pp Though most of this huge book is a technical treatment of engineering theory, it is embellished with a very interesting collection of exhibits and photos of old bridges. This is the 8th edition, the first was published in 1893. The authors conclude that bridge engineering has fully matured by 1905. Absolutely zero mention of concrete as a building material. Great book.

Trautwine, John C.
"The Civil Engineer's Pocket-Book"
Trautwine Company, 1916
1257 pages. 19th edition, 4th issue,1st edition was 1872. A fascinating encyclopedia of engineering knowledge written in a charming style. Chapters on everything including all types of bridges. A GEM!

Waddell, J. A. L.
"Economics of Bridgework"
Wiley & Sons, 1921
512pp "A Sequal to Bridge Engineering" A scholarly treatise for his fellow engineers, complete with fold-out schematics and a few pictures. Clearly a collector's item.

The Happy Pontist said...

Those sound quite delectable!

juan kis said...

Bridges, Three thousand years of Defying Nature, David J. Brown, Revised edition 2005, Octopus Publishing Group, london. Essential for us, the neophite.

juan kis said...

Other two essential for engineers:
Cable Stayed Bridges, M.S. Troitsky, Dsc, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.1977, 1988.
Bridge Bearings and Expansion Joints, David J. Lee, G. Munsell & Partners, Kent U.K.
Nice australian bridges in the latter.

Alan said...

Richard L. Cleary: "Bridges"
Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture, Design, & Engineering
2007, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 384pp

Perhaps not quite my favorite bridge book, but one I refer to often.

KantarAtlas said...

hanks for the list and also would like to see the comments and other suggestions on books.

Usually when I read your blog I have to google the bridge to see/read more about it, this time a bit more costly though cause I amazon shop this time and my pedestrian bridges book in on he way.

I also like reading old technical books they really give good explanation on basics.

Droichead said...

Some other interesting ones:

-Utforming av Bauer. The design of bridges (bilingual norwegian/english) published by the national roads authority. Focused in norwegian bridges, but quite impressive for a roads authority.

-Structure as Space Jurg Conzett. Also includes buildings but it is essential to understand conzett's design.

And in other languages:

- Christian menn bruckenbauer by Peter Marti. German only. Essential on Menn's work. (there is another one coming in few weeks by caspar scharer that looks promising).
- Les ponts modernes 20 siecle. Bernard Marrey. Excellent compilation of the XX century.

The already mentioned Bridges/Brucken from Fritz Leonhard is in my oppinion the best of all if I could only have one, despite its date that make it outdated somehow, it will be this one. There is by the way another bilingual edition in French+Spanish.

More technically focused books that are, in my oppinion quite important in any libaray are (apart from the classic, in GImsings in Cable supported and Strastki's in pedestrian):

- C. Menn in postensioned bridges (Already mentioned in the comments).
- Troitskis in Cable Stayed (Already mentioned above).
- Podolny & Mullers Constructoin and design of prestressed concrete segmental bridges.
- Conceptual design of Steel and steel composite bridges. EPFL. Manfred Hirt, Jean Paul lebet.

I am probably leaving some quite important out. But these ones are some addition to the already covered in your excellent list (which I also share as quite good references)


Bridge Ink said...

If you are interested in Roman Bridges, THE essential book is "Roman Bridges" by Colin O'Connor. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993. 235pp A listing and description of all known Roman bridges. Illustrated with pictures (black & white)and diagrams. This book has guided and informed me for the last 20 years. The most important book in its genre.

The Happy Pontist said...

I did consider including the Conzett book, Structure as Space, which is indeed excellent, but decided it was too buildings-oriented and too out-of-date now. Perhaps I'll review it here some time.

It's a good point that my choices are English-language based. There are a number of books in other languages I'd like to be able to read!

That Scharer/Menn book does look promising, I'll put that on my shopping list!

The Happy Pontist said...

Roman Bridges is currently selling from £200 and up on Amazon. I'm waiting to spot it at a reasonable price!

Bridge Ink said...

You mentioned that your choices are English-language based. Here is one in Spanish that you should have whether you can read it or not.
Troyano, Leonardo Ferrnández
“Tiera Sobre El Agua”
Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos, Madrid, 1999
798pp Includes 1,884 photos and drawings, about 1/2 in color. The most comprehensive collection I've ever seen published. The text is all in Spanish, but this is a BIBLE of bridges of all types and ages from all over the world.

The Happy Pontist said...

Is that the same as Bridge Engineering: A Global Perspective, which I reviewed here? http://happypontist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/10-essential-bridges-books-1-bridge.html If so, it's a real favourite.

Bridge Ink said...

Oops, your are right! We certainly agree.