The Most Unusual Bridges in the World
A bridge is both a means to aid travel and a work of art. Their capabilities are often taken for granted and structures frequently ignored. This, in spite of the support they provide us with and decorations they embellish upon society. Here then is an overdue celebration to the king of infrastructure, the epitome of man’s genius, and the mother of transportation, through commemorating the most unusual bridges in the world.
The Rolling Bridge
How fitting it is to begin our celebrating by honouring a British design firm. The geniuses at Heatherwick Studio installed this 39-foot timber and steel work of art in 2004. Designed as a walkway over a small part of London’s Grand Union Canal, the Rolling Bridge contains a hydraulic system installed into its handrail, through which it can retract and curl into an octagon.
The retractability of the bridge means boats are able to sail through at whim; while every Friday at noon, the bridge rolls up completely.
Standing at 118-feet, Henderson Waves is Singapore’s tallest pedestrian bridge. The innovation consists of a snake like structure, suitable in relation to the fact that it’s surrounded by two national parks: Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park.
Illuminated by an assortment of LED lights, the bending 900-foot long bridge – despite being able to support heavy duty use – looks sleek, creative, light and elegant.
Da Vinci Bridge
It wouldn’t be a list of unusual bridges without the Da Vinci Bridge. Sketched all the way back in 1502, by its namesake the venerable Leonardo da Vinci, the bridge was then intended for Sultan Bajazet II of Constantinople. Like many of Leonardo’s innovations – with the artist being so ahead of his time – his idea never saw the light of day until a good few hundred centuries after his death.
A full 500 years onwards from the fourteenth century, in 2001, Leonardo’s design was put into effect by Norwegian artist Vegjørn Sand, as the pedestrian bridge opened, allowing us to cross the E18 highway. The bridge is based in Asa, a small town near Oslo in Norway.
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge
How fitting it is to end our celebration of unusual bridges with another British based architecture firm. The Gateshead Millennium Bridge was designed by Williamson Eyre and crosses the River Tyre, connecting Gateshead and Glasgow. It seems as if the Brits have a taste for hydraulics, as like the Rolling Bridge, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge is comprised of six hydraulic ramps that can pivot the bridges walkway at an angle of 40-degrees to allow boats to pass.
Sometimes referred to as the Blinking (or Winking) Eye Bridge, due to its optic shape and tilting process, the Gateshead Millenium Bridge was astonishingly constructed into place in one piece by the Asian Hercules II – Europe’s largest floating crane.
Tahar Rajab is a British freelance writer