Build yourself a Bridge

STEP-1. Draw a shape of your bridge in section. You can do it on tracing paper and when you have got a base drawing repeat it on foam board, wood or whatever material suits you I used steel and aluminium as my bridge is 135 meters long. Do as many as you need. I need 150 pieces which is quite a lot.

STEP-2. What you need to do is punch a holes in it for stabilising rods -for rods you can use pvc or perspex rods as it helps construction to stay flexible.

Ok. So you've finally done your first frame. Good job. It should look more or less like one below.Do as many as you need.

STEP-3. Now what you need to do is to provide some support for your bridge - as previously you can use for this purpose wood or plastic as material - as my bridge is guite a heavy one I use steel.

STEP-4. If you have enough pieces to put bridge together here is what you do next:
First put the rods through the holes in first frame you made. Once you've done it repeat it with the rest. The distance between them should equal twice the width of the frame (which will give it a light appearance and you will be able to make it way much longer) or have same width (if you want your bridge to look more solid but the distance you can reach will be cut down by half).

STEP - 5. Once it's done place whole construction on beam which you previously prepared in step-3 this will support it. Take a look at the scheme below. As you will notice I added surface on which you can walk or cycle. Use a tracing paper, plastic sheet or fabric - whatever is best for you. I used very light and transparent material as I want people to have an impression of walking on the air as they cross the bridge. It is secured for heavy loading with anti-slip surface. I tried to make it look solid with no visible joints between each part.

STEP - 6. There it is. Hold on... But what will happen if you place a heavy loading in the middle of your masterpiece? It will bend down and whole construction will be in danger of collapse. To prevent it from doing this grab each end and slightly bend it so it forms an arc. This will redirect the force to each end of the structure.

STEP - 7. It is way much stronger now and to my eye it looks even better. I placed mine above Wisla (Vistula) river in Krakow (Cracow, Poland). It connects the old historical Jewish quarter (Kazimierz) with old city centre.
Let's have a closer look:


From a Top - cycling side.


From below - cycling side.


From below - walking side.

Fine - so you like the shape (hell you spend so much time on it - it is hard not to like it) but is a little bit boring for you - it is in fact a construction suspended between two points as many others. You think about people crossing the bridge and what more can you do to make it interesting? Well, first lets have a quick look inside.

And what about the night - how will it look then? Will it disappear or will it become a part of city architecture - a part of... art? Art - well, how about the idea to transform your bridge into the "gallery-bridge". How?

Lets place few multimedia projectors inside for a start. I picked two pictures of my friends to be projected ( I hope they don't mind ) - each on the opposite side.
Have a look:


This is a view from foot path...

...and this is what you see while you cycle through the bridge.

Nice? A bit like walking through the actual image isn't it.

What about the outside?

Do you remember the pictures which can be seen only from a certain angle? Think about ad banners - how do they work? - while approching you see one picture, then when you pass it and you turn back to look at it again you see another one... got the idea?


That's how it look like from a foot path level on one side ...

...and that's a view from below on the other side of the river.

 

And that's about it. We have created together the Bridge which:

- Is for both pedestrians and cyclists which are safely separated but still in contact with each other.

- Is simple and modern in form and doesn't "pop out" from the landscape.

- Is strong in construction but light in appearance.

- Its repetitive pattern (prefabrication) makes it cheaper to manufacture, put together an maintain.

- It "Changes" appearance as you approach it.

- It acts as a gallery ( through installed equipment like projectors and lights )

- Has got internal and external skin. I provided six display "walls" - 3 for each side (1 internal and 2 externals) but if you slightly modify the profile...How many YOU can create? And not just only horizontal. Have a think.

Happy with it? Now go and find yourself a river and I go to sleep. It's 2am on Sun.

Back to ARCHITECTURE