American Society of Civil Engineers

Structural Design of the Point du Gard

by George F. W. Hauck, F.ASCE, (Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Missouri—Columbia, Kansas City, MO)

Journal of Structural Engineering, Vol. 112, No. 1, January 1986, pp. 105-120, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Discussion: by Douglas D. Lee    (See full record)
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Abstract: The structural engineers of classical Rome are reputed to have been careful and methodical, but also uninspired, tradition-bound and overly conservative. Yet the Pont du Gard, an aqueduct bridge in southern France, was boldly conceived and designed. The structure is described and several of its structural features are examined in the light of insights presumably gained only during the last few of the 20 centuries since its construction. It is concluded that the design is far from being supersafe or wasteful, and that the bridge is reasonably stressed and amazingly efficient. The findings suggest, in fact, that the designer understood structural behavior uncommonly well.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Structural design
Historic sites
Structural analysis
Structural behavior