Beautiful Bridges

by R. Ralph Mays, Principal Architect; Washington State Department of Transportation,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 8, Pg. 72-74

Document Type: Feature article


There are no rules for creating beautiful bridges. While talent and experience count, bridge design is quite complex and collaboration between highway engineers, architects, and landscape architects is a good idea. There are principles and these are listed. Among them are harmony with the environment and with other structures, simplicity, and clarity. Line and mass is another factor which is defined as the appearance of lightness. Scale and proportion are important, as are color and texture. Many more practical aspects of bridge design are listed and defined, and examples of good and poor bridge design are given.

Subject Headings: Bridge design | Bridges | Highway bridges | Highway and road design | Architects | Building design | Landscaping | Freight transportation

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