Re-Creating the Rainbow Bridge

by Bashar Altabba, P.E., (M.ASCE), Proj. Mgr.; HNTB, Boston, MA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2000, Vol. 70, Issue 5, Pg. 32-37

Document Type: Feature article


A team of American and Chinese experts constructed a pier-free arch bridge in China based only on a 12th century silk scroll painting as part of a television series for PBS. The bridge consists of two arch frames—one three sided, one four-sided—that are woven together around cross-beams and tied with bamboo. Though the bridge is made of short, straight timbers, it gives the appearance of a gracefully curved arch. The design and construction were approached as they would have been in 12th century China, resulting in a cross-cultural collaboration that was both stimulating and rewarding.

Subject Headings: Rainfall | Bridges

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