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Architect’s Bridges to Spur City Growth

Friday, December 18, 2015

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Spanish neofuturist architect and structural engineer Santiago Calatrava has been commissioned to design a trio of bridges in the rapidly growing city of Huashan, China.

All three spans will be built along the newly constructed canal Yangtze River canal in the central province of Hubei. Their construction will enable motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to access both sides of the canal and existing roadways, as well as the canal’s promenades and parks.

XihuBridge / Santiago Calatrava LLC
Photos: Santiago Calatrava LLC

The Xihu Bridge features a single tilted, curved arch and an integrated staircase.

Calatrava, who says the bridges are central to the development of Huashan’s new urban center, unveiled the three designs in an announcement earlier this month.

Unique Identities

Known for structures described as graceful and harp-like by those who love him, and as “fish skeletons” by those who don’t, Calatrava’s recognizable style is evident in the renderings of the three spans named Xihu, Xianbi and Lincong.

The steel bridges will span 1.5 kilometers (just under 1 mile) of the Yangtze River canal, which connects to feeder lakes of the Yangtze River. And while each presents a variation of a through arch bridge design, where the deck passes through an arched structure, as Dezeen magazine reported, each span will stand on its own in appearance.

Santiago Calatrava LLC

The Xianbi Bridge features a support system in the center which divides the two traffic lanes.

The Xihu Bridge, the westernmost of the trio, is designed with a single tilted arch and an integrated staircase connected by a platform of inclined corrugated cables. It is 102.7 meters (about 337 feet) long and the tied arch reaches 20.4 meters (66.9 feet).

The central bridge, Xianbi, will be 129 meters (about 423 feet) long with an arch extending 42.3 meters (138.8 feet) high. It will carry two traffic lanes with a support structure in the center, creating a characteristic void.

Santiago Calatrava LLC

The Lincong Bridge is designed with two splayed arches angled away from the bridge.

On the eastern position, the Lincong Bridge, which has two arches inclining outward and away from the bridge, will measure 118 meters (about 387 feet) long and 26.1 meters (85.6 feet) high.

All three bridges feature stairs enabling pedestrians to cross the channel directly from the lower level.

Designed with Access in Mind

Calatrava designed the bridges to ensure integration with the pedestrian and cyclist routes through a series of stairs and ramps. These routes also provide key access points between the road and the promenade pathways at the canal level.

Santiago Calatrava LLC

The steel bridges will span 1.5 kilometers (just under 1 mile) of the new Yangtze River canal.

These spaces create links to a shopping boulevard on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, as well as to public spaces, to be enhanced by distinctive lighting concepts and native landscaping.

“Architecture is one of the art forms best able to improve and revitalize cities both artistically and functionally,” Calatrava said in the firm’s statement.

“The Huashan project is a clear example of how an urban element, key to the successful growth of the city, can at the same time improve the quality of life for its citizens, thanks to an integration of all three bridges and the creation of boulevards on the banks of the canal.”

Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2016.


Tagged categories: Architects; Asia Pacific; Bridges; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management; Santiago Calatrava; Steel

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