Bridge Design and Regional Esthetics

by David P. Billington, (F.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Princeton Univ., School of Engrg./Applied Sci., Princeton, N.J. 08540,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 3, Pg. 473-486

Document Type: Journal Paper


Leading bridge designers have developed individual styles within limited locales, and those styles demonstrate similarities in personal esthetic ideas. An examination of the works of six major bridge designers characterizes these ideas and illustrates the striking fact that in each case these designers have done nearly all their major work in one well-defined region of a remarkably small area. The six bridge designers are: Thomas Telford (1757-1834), John Roebling (1806-1869), Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923), Robert Maillart (1872-1940), Othmar Amman (1879-1965), and Christian Menn (born in 1927). Their bridges are at least as good as, and probably better than, any of their time; there is a definite connection between the high quality of their work and its restriction to a samll well-defined geographic region. Their works illustrate a series of individual styles that spring from local conditions rather than an international style.

Subject Headings: Bridge design | Aesthetics | Distinguished engineers | Bridges | Jordan | Middle East | Asia

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