Most bridges are boring pieces of infrastructure, but Chinese design firm Mimesis Architecture Studio breaks the mold with a hybrid bamboo bridge that adds sculptural beauty to China’s Jiangsu Province. Spanning Lake Taihu in Dingshu Town, the 100-meter-long Wuxi Harbor Bridge is a visual delight with its latticed bamboo structures that frame the road and reference the region’s ancient cultural heritage.
Primarily known as the “China Clay Capital” for the rare purple clay found in the nearby mountains, Dingshu Town is also well known for its bamboo craftsmanship. The architects celebrate the bamboo craft with the design of the bridge, which was constructed with help from the local bamboo craftspeople. Built with a curved steel structure, the bridge is framed by large triangular frames made of latticed bamboo poles that were carbonized to improve durability.
The geometric bamboo “nets” are lightweight and can be removed and easily replaced if damaged. The bamboo was also used as formwork for concrete, imparting a distinct texture to the deck handrails. “Based on the existing bridge structure, the deck and fence parts are designed,” wrote the architects. “The intertwining images of mountain, river, fog and wind fabricating the site are projected onto the form of the bridge.”
Images by Jian Jiao, Xing Zheng, Shiliang Hu