The utilitarian character of infrastructure most of the time renders it invisible to the naked eye. However, because they are placed in open spaces that ensure visibility, bridges attract some of the most creative forces from the world of architecture. A bridge’s design stems from from a combination of construction materials, understandings of geographical, as well as social contexts, and the designer’s creativity and intellectual influences. Before any kind of computer simulations were available, architects and engineers took extra measures to ensure structural resistance, sometimes ending up producing bulky structures. The advent of computers combined with the availability of new materials helped architects produce these wonderful minimalistic designs. So check out these ten cool minimalist pedestrian bridges!
1. Melkwegbridge, The Netherlands.
Melkwegbridge (2012) is located in Purmerend and was designed by architects from NEXT, who wanted to offer access to pedestrians, bicycles and wheelchairs. People in wheelchairs would not have been able to cross a very steep bridge, while bigger bots could not have passed through. The solution came to satisfy all three categories, while allowing boats to cross the area, as the lower deck swings open to allow access for bigger boats. Plus, pedestrians can enjoy the wonderful panorama from the top of the bridge, which peaks at almost 40 feet.
2. Hovenring, The Netherlands
Eindhoven’s municipality commissioned Hovenring (2012) – ring connecting Eindhoven, Veldhoven and Meerhoven) because cycling is one of the main forms of transportation in the Netherlands and needs adequate infrastructure. The pylon is 230 feet high, becoming a ‘new landmark in the city’. The functionality seems pretty obvious. One solution to reduce the steepness for cyclists was the reduction of road level by 5 feet.
3. High Trestle Trail Bridge, U.S
High Trestle Trail is 25 miles long was opened in 2011 in Iowa. The 1970s bridge initially served the rail traffic, but now is used by pedestrians and cyclists alone. In fact, the only structural part from those years is represented by the 130 feet high piers, which at one point remained unconnected, forcing the locals nickname it ‘Stonehenge’ for the transition period.
4. Sundial Bridge, U.S.
Sundial Bridge (2004) is located in Redding, California. The 700 ft ‘cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge’ is used just by pedestrians and cyclists as well. The total cost… a whopping $23.5 million. That is one expensive watch, because the bridge actually works as a sundial. In fact it is credited as the largest sundial in the world.
5. Infinity Bridge, Uk
Infinity Bridge (2008) is 787 ft long and spans River Tees in Stockton-on-Tees, north-east England. It has an ‘asymmetric double tied-arch and suspended deck’ design and a ‘design life’ of 120 years. For $24 million, it’d better! As you can see, the bridge and its reflection form the infinity symbol, thus its name. A much more inspired choice than the initially proposed North Shore Footbridge.
6. Langkawi Sky Bridge, Malaysia
Langkawi Sky Bridge (2005) is a 410 ft long pedestrian bridge placed at 2.300 feet above sea level. The only non-urban pedestrian bridge in the list is unfortunately closed for renovations and no reopening date has been set yet. The bridge has its own cable car that carries passengers for a length of 1.4 miles, from the beach to the top of the mountain.
7. Festina Lente Bridge, Sarajevo
Also called The Loop, the Sarajevo bridge Festina Lente (Latin for ‘make haste slowly’) was opened in 2012. No, it’s not possible to do a full loop because, unfortunately, the conservative administration decided to place barriers against human freedom. You can have a seat though.
8. Gateshead Millenium Bridge, Uk
This marvelous structure was finished in 2001, hence the name, in Newcastle upon Tyne upon Tyne. The funky shape is nonetheless as functionalist as possible, because this is a tilt bridge. The ‘Winking Eye Bridge’ can rotate in just 4.5 minutes and allow ships up to 82 ft tall pass by. Among all the minimalist pedestrian bridges this is an award winner.
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