Gallery: Top 5 Most Innovative Green Bridges on the Planet

 

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!

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5 Comments

  1. Calgary68 March 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    My wife and I traveled more than 12,000 kilometers specifically to see and experience the Langkawi Sky Bridge. A truly innovative and magnificent structure. I had been to Malaysia previously and this made the return trip even more worthwhile.

  2. feline74 February 4, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Re: criticisms of #1. What has the bigger environmental footprint: that inhabited bridge or a similarly populated development on a greenfield site at the edge of the Metropolitan area? London is one of the more expensive cities in the world to live in and there are only so many brownfield sites to redevelop. Sooner or later, they have to turn to more expensive methods of housing.

  3. yinlin August 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Great ideas

  4. oikee December 27, 2009 at 12:33 am

    I agree with most of your points totally, but with this “crippler bridge in Brisbane, i have to make mention of what the real outcomes will be, it reduces traffic from one area to the next, will save thousands of car emmissions from a largely populated area, and is one of many more to come in this growth city. The more bridges in this city, less emmissions will be forthcoming, i surgest you really look at total impact before you go off half cocked next time. But as for the other bridges, yes i agree, its grandstanding at its best. Green bridge across the Thames, yeah right. Cheers.
    P.S, just for the record, the bridges being built around Brisbane are mostly walking bridges, this city is geared towards walking and push-cycling. It is a city with future green in mind, and is probably the greenest city on the planet, and geared this way. The city also has the largest green space for any city in the world, roma parklands covering 15 hectares of green space. This city is also the future of what and how cities should be planned. Be my guest, look it up.

  5. JThomson November 17, 2009 at 7:56 am

    This seems to be a breathtakingly misplaced post, which if anything undermines the entire role of this site. Each example is fundamentally unsustainable.

    In order then:

    5: Solar panels do not make a sustainable bridge. The faux-tensegrity structure of the Kurilpa bridge is possibly the least efficient way a bridge can be designed. The energy produced by the photovoltaics (once their own embodied energy is subtracted) over their lifespan will be equal to a fraction of the energy used to make the steel in the bridge. There are perhaps 200 tonnes of steel in the bridge which need never have been produced if a truss or beam type design was used. Yes, it looks spectacular, but it’s a million miles from sustainable.

    4: Ecologically aware, yes. It touches the ground lightly and separates people from the forest, but it turns the forest into an amusement park, to be seen and not experienced, and separates cause and effect in people’s minds. “Oh, isn’t it beautiful?” Yes, but the concrete used to make the piers will have released thousands of trees worth of carbon.

    3: Where’s the bridge going? Who’s going to use it? If it wasn’t there at all, who would lose out? People can walk from one tower to another at ground level. It’s a needless creation and hence a wasteful one. Once again, photovoltaics – IN COPENHAGEN. How much sunlight does Copenhagen get in a year? Might it not be better to scrap the tokenistic greenwash altogether?

    2: Who is going to visit Langkawi? Tourists. How are they going to get to Malaysia? Well, if they fly they’ll produce massive emmissions of carbon dioxide which is a long way from sustainability. How did the materials to build the bridge get to this remote area in the first place? It’s an engeneering marvel, but it’s not sustainable.

    1: Just wow.

    Building over water is the least efficient, most resource intensive place to build (except perhaps the moon). To even consider a habitable bridge is architectural grandstanding at its most insidious. There are a vanishingly small number of inhabited bridges in the world, beacuse they are incredibly inefficient to build. The reason most bridges are so slender is because sane, rational people don’t needlessly throw money and materials at building on water, when you can build the same thing on land for a fraction of the environmental cost.

    Please, please consider the point of this site: “Design will save the world.” None of the above bridges will save the world, and the green tokenism they represent contributes to our politicians’ lack of will to make the difficult decisions which will ultimately lead to a more sustainable future. Please stop lauding ‘cool’ at the expense of the truly sustainable.

    James Thomson
    http://www.paperproject.wordpress.com

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