Design and engineering innovations over the last two decades have had a dramatic impact on our ability to create beautiful, environmentally sensitive structures that help contribute to a more sustainable future. A dramatic example of the confluence of design, technology and environmental sustainability can be seen in the proliferation of innovative bridge designs around the world. We’ve put together a list of five of our favorites. Check them out and let us know what you think!
5. Solar-powered Kurilpa Bridge in Brisbane
Designed by the Australian firm Cox Architects, the Kurilpa Bridge is said to be the longest footbridge of its kind. Spanning 470 meters, the footbridge features a LED lighting system that is powered almost completely by 84 integrated solar panels which produce and average of 100KWh a day. And because it is connected to the grid, the bridge can get power when needed or give power back to the grid when a surplus is generated.
4. Telok Blangah Hill Park’s Flying Infrastructure in the Sky
Situated 120 feet above the forest in Telok Blangah Hill Park outside Singapore, this network of pedestrian bridges and suspended walkways gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the park’s breathtaking forest canopy. Rather than disturb the delicate landscape of the park below, engineers designed this network of pathways for visitors to get as close as possible to the ecosystem without disturbing the delicate balance below.
3. Copenhagen Harbor LM Project
A stunning example of solar bridge-making on a large scale, the Copenhagen Harbor LM Project by Steven Holl Architects combines a host of sustainable technologies like photovoltaic-sheathed skyscrapers, a wind turbine-studded skybridge, sea water heating and cooling systems, and radiant floor heating.
2. Langkawi Sky Bridge, Malaysia
Another great example of treading lightly on the land, the Langkawi Sky Bridge’s six foot wide deck rises 2000 feet above sea level on the top of Mount Mat Cincang. A marvel of modern engineering, the curving bridge deck allows visitors an intimate experience of the forest canopy and wildlife. And from the built-in triangular lookout decks visitors get panoramic views of Langkawi, an archipelago of 99 islands.
1. Solar-powered, Inhabited London Bridge Concept
What will the bridges of the future look like? We’d like to think they might look something like this concept for a redesigned London Bridge. Designed by Chetwoods Architects, this bridge placed first in a design challenge that asked for concepts for an inhabited London Bridge of the future. Chetwood’s design included a hydroponic vertical farm, public organic food markets, photovoltaic sheathing, a vertical wind turbine, rainwater collection and greywater treatment and recycling. See you there!