San Francisco Bay's Jeweled Necklace (Available only in Focus on Structures Special Edition)

by Charles Seim, Senior Principal; T. Y. Lin International, 825 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 1, Pg. 14A-16A

Document Type: Feature article


When one looks at a map of San Francisco Bay, three bridges stand out to form a link around the central part of the Bay. At night, it takes little imagination for one to see the lights on these bridges forming a magnificent jeweled necklace around the Bay. The jewels of this necklace of course are the powerful San Francisco�Oakland Bay Bridge, the meandering Richmond�San Rafael Bridge, and the elegant Golden Gate Bridge. Our interest in these bridges today is focused on aesthetics and the interplay of engineers and architects in development of form and ratios in meeting structural requirements. What can we learn of aesthetics from those who designed these bridges years ago? They have left us a meager trail of discarded sketches, but their structures speak for them. What can we learn from the measures and proportion ratios of this constructed trio of structures? What can we apply today?

Subject Headings: Bridges | Bays | Bridge design | Aesthetics | Mapping | Light (artificial) | Bridge engineering

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