If bridge structure has aesthetically pleasant appearance, it will contribute the improvement of city and landscape appearances. However, there are cases in which bridge structures deteriorates landscape due to its ugly appearances.
That is why this article will shed light on the aesthetic guidelines for bridge structures.
Aesthetic Guidelines for Bridge Structures
- Clear structural system
- Good proportions
- Good order
- Integration into environment
- Choice of material
- Space above the bridge
- Recognizable flow of force
Clear Structural System
It is necessary to make sure that the load bearing elements of bridge structure are reduced to as minimum as possible. In this way, not only does it look stable but also reliable. Neither the utilization of various statical elements would offer good appearance nor statically correct system look satisfactory pleasing.
To sum up, load bearing system of the bridge should be simple and convincing at the same time.
Fig.1: Svinesund Bridge in Norway Elegant and Simple
Fig.2: Third Caroni River Bridge in Venezuela looks simple and reliable
One of the elements of bridge structure that play significant role in its aesthetic is the presence of balance ratio between structural members. For example, create a balanced ratio between shadow and light area, length and height of the bridge.
Fig.3: Kocher Valley Bridge, Germany, the span of the bridge is 130 and the height of piers is 180 m, this made the bridge to fit the valley properly and have a parabola shape in transverse direction which makes the bridge aesthetically pleasing
The edges and lines of the bridge, which create appearance of the structure, should be in a satisfactory order. This may be obtained by declining number and direction of structural elements. Added to that, repetition of structural members may provide good order. Nonetheless, tedious repetition and routine should be prevented.
Fig.4: Railway Bridge across River at Nantenbach in Germany, even though the depth of the girder has changed but slope of diagonals is almost the same which improve bridge aesthetics. Cross members have been omitted to reduce structural members and directions as well
Integration into Environment
The bridge can be integrated into the surrounding area by proper selection of materials used in the construction and the scale of the structure. This measure will make the bridge to harmonically integrate into the environment.
Fig.5: Materials used in bridge construction are like the surrounding building and the color bridge railing is like surrounding area as well
Choice of Material
Suitable materials shall be selected in terms load bearing capacity and appearances. For example, concrete should be used in strut construction whereas steel employed in tie construction.
Forms can be used to provide texture for large area of concrete but small areas are recommended to leave it smooth. It is possible to apply natural stones for lining large areas of abutments and piers.
Fig.6: Massively elegant bridge construction from natural stone, Japan
Color plays crucial role in the provision of visually pleasing appearances of bridge structure.
There are cases in which bridge structure either constructed from steel or concrete need to be colored to be integrated into its surrounding area and have attractive appearances.
Fig.7: Dark green for the piers and light green for the deck have chosen to make the bridge like the surrounding trees
Space Above the Bridge
The space above the bridge should give travelers a good and comfortable feeling. It might be nice idea to show the start and the end of the bridge if there is no other structural element extended above the bridge.
Historically, bridges were improved in terms of aesthetics by placing statues on bridges.
Fig.8: Cables creates a shape like tent which might give travelers feeling of safety
Recognizable Flow of Force
Ordinary observers should be able to see the flow of forces and satisfied that it is acceptable otherwise observers may feel uncomfortable.
Fig.9: Load transfer can easily be observed
Simplicity is the most important factor when it comes to the bridge structure without items used for aesthetic improvement. The structural shape should provide aesthetically appealing view.
Fig.10: Simple bridge shape but aesthetically pleasing view
It could improve the aesthetic appearance of the bridge structure at night. Modern technology has improved lighting of bridge and provides a better aesthetic view.
Fig.11: Considerably appealing bridge lighting