Bridges serve a crucial purpose, connecting communities across the globe, but have you ever stopped and thought about the architecture of bridges? Maybe you should.
Apart from the obvious features and functionalities, the architecture of infrastructure has a big impact on its surrounding area. With bridges, architects, engineers and designers experiment with forms freely – without losing scope of the structure’s original purpose.
So without further ado, let’s take a trip around the globe, bridge by bridge, to check out some peerless examples of public infrastructure design.
Millau Viaduct – Foster + Partners – Millau, France
We might as well start with one of the big boys of modern viaduct construction. Foster + Partners has a long history of fusing the principles of architecture with engineering, and the Millau Viaduct represents the peak of Foster’s multi-disciplinary approach.
Located in Southern France, the Millau Viaduct smashed a few long-held records when it was built back in 2004. It contains the world’s highest pylons, it has the highest road deck in Europe and it overtook the Eiffel Tower as France’s tallest structure after the Tower’s 115-year reign. Oh, it’s also the tallest bridge in the world too.
Structurally, Millau was built using a cable-stayed, masted configuration. That means its silhouette is slender and sleek; not invasive at all. That’s good as the Tarn Valley ranks amongst France’s most beautiful nature spots.
Foster + Partners design, while being monumental, represents how such huge projects can be subtly blended with their surroundings.