Modern bridge design by Santiago Calatrava
The twentieth century brings a new era of contemporary design that includes not just buildings but also a different type of structure – bridges. Bridges exist since ancient times and have been constantly evolving together with building and industrial growth. Mass industrialization and introduction of new materials lead to new kinds of design ideas that combined with innovative thinking begin to form the clean provocative image of modern bridge design.
Since the middle of 1980 architects begin to get more involved into the modern bridge design process. This change starts with the automobile bridge The Felipe II or Bach de Roda Bridge in Barcelona, created by notable architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava between 1985 and 1987. The bridge is 129 m long and 8 m high with an interesting vaulted structure from concrete and steel suspended on strained steel rods. Soon after the construction of this bridge Calatrava also creates a pedestrian modern bridge design with similar structure. It is called La Devesa Bridge and it is located in Ripoll, Spain. With these two bridges the famous architect introduces an innovative though in bridge designing treating the bridge as an art piece that needs to be approached with an artistic touch.
Among Calatrava’s most impressive modern bridge design projects is the Alamillo Bridge situated in Seville, Spain. Built from 1987 to 1992 for the Seville exhibition the bridge remains the place’s landmark ever since. It bridges 250 m with its steel structure and its asymmetric shape points to one of the main entrances to Cartuja Island. Another of Santiago Calatrava’s bridges is the Trinity Bridge connecting Salford and Manchester in England. The bridge is completed in 1995 and its design reminds of the Alamillo Bridge but has a slightly different construction.
With so many innovative and creative bridge projects Santiago Calatrava establishes himself as a pioneer of modern bridge design and manages to inspire many architects with his work.
Santiago Calatrava – architecture and William Zeitler – music