bridges

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Art

Monumental Cardboard Bridges Float in the Sky in Temporary Installations by Olivier Grossetête

July 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

Architecture en Fête, Villeneuve lez Avignon, France (2015). All images © Olivier Grossetête, shared with permission

Temporarily seen hovering above small European towns or balancing on a river in floating canoes are elaborate bridges designed to be constructed and demolished in a matter of days. The ongoing work of Olivier Grossetête, the cardboard-and-tape pieces are entirely hand-built by the French artist and local residents. Each ephemeral installation, which Grossetête refers to as “utopian building(s), temporary and useless,” appears for only a day or two before it’s taken down and the public is asked to stomp on and destroy the cardboard. “This is an integral part of the project,” the artist says in a statement. “This symbolic moment is fun.” While they’re on display, the architectural works are often tethered between hot air balloons and existing buildings, which makes them appear dream-like as they float above the urban landscape.

Grossetête has been utilizing the cheap, flexible material for more than ten years because it’s easy to manipulate, allowing the installations to spring up and be removed relatively quickly. “Despite its appearance, it has quite extraordinary capacities and is very light. It doesn’t scare anyone, and it allows me to open my practice to the greatest number of people,” he says, explaining that it’s also emblematic of cultural signifiers. “It is the symbol of the false and of the appearance! I like to make this parallel between architecture, an instrument of power, and the false, the appearance.”

Currently living in Jausiers in the Alpes de Hautes Provences, Grossetête is headed to 23 Milhas in Ílhavo, Portugal for his next installation, which will be up from July 31 to August 1. You can explore more than a decade of his works on his site.

 

“Monkey Bridge,” Japanese Garden of Tattonpark Biennale

Mantuano/French Embassy in Rome

Festival de l’Oh, Champigny, France (2015)

Mantuano/French Embassy in Rome

Pont Landerneau, France (2016)

Amboise, France Cultural Season of Amboise

 

 



Design

The World's Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Stretches Across the Paiva River Gorge in Portugal

April 30, 2021

Grace Ebert

Don’t look down! A new pedestrian bridge suspended 175-feet above the rocky gorge cradling the Paiva River opened in Portugal this week, and it’s now the longest of its kind. At 1,700 feet, Arouca 516 eclipses the former record-holder, the 1,621-foot Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in the Swiss Alps, as it stretches across the UNESCO-recognized Arouca Geopark. The steel construction is located in a five-mile stretch of the gorge known for its wooden walkways, adding another option for intrepid explorers to experience the lush scenery.

Update: The Baglung Parbat Footbridge in Nepal also claims the “world’s longest footbridge” title at a length of 1,860 feet.

 

All images via Ponte 516 Arouca

 

 



Animation Design History

Watch the 14th-Century Construction Process of Prague's Charles Bridge Unfold in a Meticulous Animation

October 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

Up until the mid-19th century, the only way to cross the Vltava River in Prague was to head over the gothic stone arches of the Charles Bridge. The project of King Charles IV, construction of the now iconic structure began in 1357 after a flood damaged the existing walkway. A short animation by Engineering and Architecture peers back into history to chronicle the centuries-old building process as it shows wooden trusses framing the structure and bricks seemingly sprinkling into place. While the video collapses decades of work into less than a minute, the Charles Bridge wasn’t complete until the early 15th century.

Find more of Engineering and Architecture’s construction studies on Instagram and YouTube. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Design

The World's Longest Glass-Bottom Bridge Stretches Across the Lianjiang River in China

September 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University

Extending 526.14 meters, a new glass-bottom bridge in China’s Huangchuan Three Gorges Scenic Area now ranks as the longest in the world. The lengthy structure is the project of the firm Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University and looms 201 meters above the Lianjiang River. Bright red towers mark either end, with an 8.8-meter-wide deck running between them. Three layers of 4.5-centimeter-thick glass lined with steel compose the transparent bridge, which is suspended with cables and can hold 500 people. According to Dezeen, the previous record-holder was a wobbly 488-meter structure in China’s Hebei province.

 

 

 



Design

The Twist: A New Gallery in Kistefos Sculpture Park Connects Two River Banks

September 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A sinuous new gallery and bridge reaches across the Randselva River in Jevnaker, Norway. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the aluminum-clad structure joins north and south river fronts on the campus of Kistefos Sculpture Park. 15,000 square feet of space allows visitors to explore Kistefos’s large art collection while also taking in the surrounding landscape through floor-to-ceiling windows. The Twist opened to the public on September 18th, with an exhibition featuring the work of conceptual artist Martin Creed and painter Howard Hodgkin. Kistefos Sculpture Park has  ticketed admission, which includes entry to The Twist, and is open seasonally from the end of May to mid-November. (via Design Milk)

 

 



Design

Custom-Built Coffee Tables Constructed from Original Components of the Golden Gate Bridge

February 27, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Danielle Hankinson

Each rope that suspended San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge from 1935 to the 1970s was made of 229 individual strands arranged in a unique “lay” created at John A. Roeblin’s Sons Company in Trenton, New Jersey. Though these suspender ropes were retired about fifty years ago, the history and strength imbued in them lives on. Strands of History, a Tahoe City, California-based company founded in 2016, focuses on building functional items using the bridge’s original ropes, including a spectacular wood and steel coffee table.

Mary Zimmerman of the Strands of History team explains to Colossal that the company was able to verify the rope’s authenticity by reviewing the original schematics from the Roebling’s company. Every suspension bridge has ropes with a unique lay, which create a sort of finger print for the bridge’s materials.

Once a sufficient supply was in the hands of Strands of History, the company got to work determining a way to showcase the strength, beauty, and history of their chosen material. The incredibly strong rope weighs one pound per inch, and is so dense that only five cuts can be made before a fresh 14-inch abrasive blade is required. Strands of History brought in experts from Bushey Ironworks and Roundwood Furniture to help design the coffee table and wrangle the finicky raw materials. Bushey weighed in with forge welding techniques to stabilize the ropes, and Roundwood suggested a deeply striated Claro walnut wood that is about 80 years old.

In creating something new out of such storied materials, Zimmerman explains, “All of us that work on these projects are committed to the preservation of this historic steel. This required exploring various techniques to maintain [the rope’s] structural integrity, as well as to preserve the unique lay of the wire and its inherent beauty and attraction.”

You can take a look inside Strands of History’s workshop on Instagram, and learn more about their projects with the Golden Gate Bridge suspender ropes on the company’s website. (via My Modern Met)

 

 

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