Bridges are a unique blend of architecture and mechanical engineering. And they’re not just functional—many of these marvels have become parts of the skyline or even the skyline itself.
There are iconic bridges from past centuries. For instance, red covered barns bridges in Pennsylvania, our beloved Golden Gate Bridge, bridges spanning canals and rivers in ancient Rome. But they can’t compare to some of the new breed of bridges that have been recently built or in the works
Circular Laguna Garzon Bridge, Uruguay
On Uruguay's southern coast this ring-shaped bridge across Laguna Garzon was built to replace a raft crossing between the cities of Rocha and Maldonado. The elegant curved design was chosen to force drivers to slow down. Replacing a raft bridge than could only transport two cars at a time is an upgrade that the people of Uruguay definitely deserved.
Twin Sails Bridges, Dorset, England
Spanning the Backwater Channel in Dorset, England, the bridge features two 75-foot-tall triangular lifting leaves, powered by hydraulics. They can open the bridge to allow for boats to pass by. When the two triangular spans are lifted they mimic the sails of yachts.
Dragon King Bridge, China
The “lucky Knot” Bridge in China is built to symbolize the art of knot tying—a Chinese practice that’s said to bring good luck. The shape for this pedestrian bridge is designed to represent the surrounding mountains.
Danjiang Bridge, Taiwan
This is one of the last projects awarded to Zaha Hadid Architects. Its massive structure is 180 feet above the water at its highest point. It’s also intended to serve as a catalyst for more urban growth. At just over 3,000 feet long it will be the world's longest single-tower, asymmetric cable-stayed bridge. The subtle design is meant to stand out without obscuring the Taipei sunset.
Inspired by the city's storied nautical history the five round platforms and wired masts give the illusion of boats floating on the harbor. One section of the bridge functions as a swing bridge, rotating to allow large boats to pass into and out of the canal.
San Shan Bridge, China
Inspiration for the bridge came from a double helix and the mountains surrounding it. From the side the three arches look like mountains. The term 'San Shan' translates to ‘three mountains’ in English. The bridge is compatible with the natural surroundings but it also stands out as an icon for the Olympic games in China.
Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge
The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge spans a deep canyon in China's Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. It rests on the edge of two cliffs and is 69 feet long and 718 feet high. Glass panels are set into its steel-framed walkway, giving visitors vertigo-inducing (some might say terrifying) views of the canyon below. But after only 2 weeks the bridge had to be closed because of overwhelming crowds. It can hold 800 people but about 80,000 visitors tried to visit every day—about 10 times what was expected.
Garden Bridge, London
The Garden Bridge will span the Thames River. It has been delayed by money woes and several potential redesigns. A donor from Hong Kong and crowd funding sources will likely keep the project on track, after the city’s money just wasn’t enough. The bridge’s final cost is estimated to be more than $275 million. Supposedly, the architect was inspired by the scene in "Titanic”: “I'm the king of the world!” hoping couples would re-enact the scene on the balconies of the bridge.