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Amazing bridges: It’s about the journey, not the destination

These amazing bridges are more than just a construction to overcome physical hindrances and valleys. Usually, bridges are constructed with a particular purpose in mind, but this purpose doesn’t always have to be the connection of two places. These five examples from around the world show that bridges can also be an architectural statement.

The world’s greatest bridges have one thing in common: They are a sight in and of themselves. They attract tourists and offer a public space for exploration and movement in both rural and urban environments. These masterpieces in bridge construction demonstrate that it’s about the journey rather than the destination.

Lucky Knot Bridge in China

The Lucky Knot Bridge is situated in the Chinese megacity Changsha. This steel pedestrian bridge connects the shore of the Dragon King Harbour River in Changsha with the fast-developing New Lake District. The extraordinary bridge takes up 185 metres and has developed into a true attraction. As the name may already suggest, the architects of NEXT in Amsterdam were inspired by Chinese traditional knotting art. In ancient Chinese folk art, the knot symbolizes luck and prosperity. At a height of 24 metres, the bridge looks like a ribbon unfolding itself.

 

On this cool bridge pedestrians can take multiple routes that intersect at different junctions. The various levels of the bridge span across different heights, connecting the river banks, the road, and the higher-located park in a knotting-like manner. The shape of the bridge is the result of knotting all these pathways together. From the Lucky Knot Bridge, there is a spectacular view of the river, the Meixi Lake, and the surrounding mountains. But that’s not all: The bridge has also become a true attraction and unique experience because of its LED-light show. The colour of the bridge was also chosen according to Chinese traditions, as red stands for happiness and prosperity.

Charles Kuonen – The world’s longest suspension bridge in Switzerland

Source: TomoNews US / YouTube
 
The 494 metre long suspension bridge in Switzerland was named after the main sponsor Charles Kuonen, and is currently the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. It connects the Europaweg trail between Grächen to Zermatt. The suspension bridge stretches up to a height of 85 metres over the Grabengufer ravine in the Swiss Mattertal valley. When crossing this well-known bridge, a spectacular nature-experience awaits you. When hiking the Europaweg trail, you get to see the highest mountains of Switzerland. On the Charles Kuonen pedestrian suspension bridge, you can enjoy the view on the Weißhorn and the impressive mountainous world of the Mattertal valley.

 

The planners of the Charles Kuonen suspension bridge wanted to preserve the natural environment as much as possible. The result was a filigree, transparent construction of steel cables and wire mesh that completely integrates with the mountain panorama. Due to the transparent construction there’s a constant view into the depths – a real adrenaline rush! But there’s no need to be afraid. With its 65 metre width and steel cables, the bridge provides both adventure and safety.

The Millau Viaduct: A record-breaking bridge in France

Source: Passion Villages de France / YouTube / YouTube
In December 2004 the “Viaduc de Millau” was inaugurated. The bridge was the result of a collaboration between the French engineer Michel Virlogeux and the English architect Lord Norman Foster. The bridge spans a length of 2460 metres and holds a world record for its 343 metres high pylons. The construction of the bridge in France took 13 years of planning and 36 months of construction. The road deck of reinforced concrete runs at a height of 270 metres.

 

In total, there are seven supporting masts, all 87 metres high, that are set on top of the pylons. The highway bridge is reminiscent of a gigantic sail boat. The elegant, airy construction of the bridge merges into the landscape of the Grand Causses natural park. The Millau Viaduct has become a key sight and brings life to the entire region. Numerous tourists come to France each year to admire this unique bridge

Amazing bridges: On a glass bridge through a Canyon

Source: Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Official Channel / YouTube
In the Province of Hunan in the Southeast of China, the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge stands 300 metres high over a deep canyon. It’s not only the world’s highest, but also the world’s longest glass bridge at 430 metres in length. The bridge was planned by Haim Dotan Architects of Israel. The landscape surrounding the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Bridge is also spectacular. Wulingyuan, the name of the natural area, is known for its huge sandstone pillars, which can measure up to 200 metres high.

 

The area is part of the city Zhangjiajie and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. There can be a maximum of 600 people on the bridge at any one time. Besides the stunning views, the glass bridge offers even more for adrenaline junkies: It is also one of the highest bungee jumping platforms in the world.

Cittadella Bridge: Connecting the past with the future

The Cittadella Bridge in Italy, designed by Richard Meier & Partners, connects the modern city of Alessandria with the Cittadella, a historical 18th-century fort. The bridge is 185 metres long with a total surface of more than 4,000 square metres for pedestrians and vehicular traffic. The two are separated, making a relaxed stroll possible for pedestrians. With the Cittadella Bridge, you can cross the River Tanaro in the northwest of Italy.

 

The pedestrian part of this extraordinary bridge has become a public meeting place. The design is supposed to connect modernity with history: While the white precast concrete elements and the coated steal construction have become a landmark on their own, visible from many parts of the city, the desert pavement beside the sound barriers match the structure of the traditional building elements seen in Alessandria’s streets.

Do you know more cool bridges? Which unique bridges would you like to explore? We look forward to receiving your comments..

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