You wouldn’t expect cardboard to be strong enough to build load-bearing infrastructure, but that’s exactly what ingenious architect Shigeru Ban used to build a bridge across the Gardon River in France. You might be familiar with his previous work (his Curtain Wall House, Nomadic Museum, and Paper Church in particular), but the bridge, proves that Shigeru Ban is truly a brilliant architectural mind in the world of green and context-sensitive design.
The bridge, located over the Gardon River in southern France, is made almost entirely out of cardboard tubes (281 to be exact), and is strong enough to carry 20 people at a time. The steps of the bridge are constructed from recycled paper and plastic. And how does it stand up, you may ask yourself? It turns out cardboard is surprisingly strong when engineered as precisely and creatively as Ban has designed it, but the foundations do get a little help from wooden boxes packed with sand.
The bridge also sits adjacent to an ancient Roman Bridge, creating an interesting juxtaposition. “It is a very interesting contrast, the Roman stone bridge and the paper bridge. Paper too can be permanent, can be strong and lasting. We need to get rid of these prejudices,” Ban said.
The cardboard masterpiece was open for 6 weeks to the public before being dismantled prior to the rainy season. +Paper bridge unveiled in southern France + Ban Architects