Cables and abutments went fancy for a distinct purpose: to convey passersby—not folks whizzing past on vehicles—with personality. Here’s a selection of bridges that are anything but pedestrian.
Beijing, China Steven Holl Architects Eight bridges totaling 1,004 feet. The Linked Hybrid bridges harness color and under-lighting to animate and reflect off the pool below. The eight enclosed bridges connect eight buildings at slightly differing levels and with varying interactions—including a swimming pool, auditorium, and cafe.
Brisbane, Australia Arup 1,541 feet. The slew of cables and tubes isn’t just a seemingly random array of mastlike visuals, but instead it functions as the tension-supported cable-stay system hoisting the steel bridge over the Brisbane River. The bridge features viewing platforms, all-weather canopies, and ever-changing LED mood lighting. A purple bridge, anyone?
New Plymouth, New Zealand Novare Design 285 feet. The graceful Te Rewa Rewa span over the Waiwhakaiho River presents visitors with a sense of transformation as they cross through the gateway to the sacred land of the local Maori tribe. The white steel ribs form an arch, artistically symbolizing the path of the wind while also framing Mount Taranaki.
San Diego, California Safdie Rabines Architects 550 feet. This skeletal, sculptural structure in downtown San Diego connects trolley tracks to Petco Park. Visitors are enticed to the walkway by a glass elevator tower, which showcases the elevator’s inner workings as it ascends to the steel-and-concrete bridge. The curve of the crossing, along with the bridge’s iconic spear, ensures varying visual interest from all sides—even from below.
Vancouver, British Columbia PWL Partnership 131 feet. Vancouver’s Olympic Village melds a modern, urban vibe with a working edge, reminiscent of the site’s past. The Canoe Bridge meshes too, its true-to-life canoe form offering a modernly smooth yet ruggedly distinct design that both contrasts with and complements the seawall walking path.