LUO Studio created a beautiful new timber construction bridge in Jiangmen, China that is both breezy and protects from the elements. It’s a sustainable design that connects with the history of this region in which tidal flats were traditionally connected with many bridges to connect land areas over fish ponds.
With rapid urbanization in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, many local villagers have abandoned the traditional fishing lifestyle in favor of an urban lifestyle. As a result, these water villages have been disappearing. Gulou Waterfront is an eco-cultural tourism resort developed by OCT with the aim to combine rural revitalization with a connection to history.
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For the Timber Bridge, the designers wanted to preserve the unique mounds and pounds in the region. The resort maintains the form of the basic local water system, integrating educational areas about nature, family recreation areas and fishing and husbandry.
Historically in this area, water systems were the main network of transport. Bridges were walkable, but were also arched on the bottom to allow boats to pass underneath. Southern China has always used timber for bridges due to its abundance as a local natural resource.
Therefore, LUO Studio set out to create a modern timber bridge. It connects the resort area with its heritage while keeping in tradition with historical materials. The resort provides access for small fishing boats and large tourism ships. The span of the bridge is an impressive 25.2 meters. Three large curved beams were used as the primary structural support, arranged in parallel. Each beam was divided into sections and connected by steel bolts on-site to form the completed beams.
Specifically, the bridge is unique in being more closed than most in the area. This was done to emphasize the transition from the commercial street area to the peaceful and playful children’s recreational area. The coverings also protect the bridge from rain and corrosion.
Furthermore, covered bridges also enhance structural stability and protect from the sun. The exterior sides of the bridge corridor are covered by metal plates to protect from the abundant rain and provide a sense of cohesion to the design. Moreover, the plating creates a play of light in the space, which creates a sense of calm while still being open to the outdoors.
LUO Studio is known for sustainable construction. They advocate for minimal material usage, traditional construction techniques, revitalization of spaces and the use of architecture to support social improvements. Moreover, LUO Studio works to promote the construction of ecological farms and communities based on the permaculture, and teach workshops on sustainable construction.
Images via Jin Weiqi and LUO Studio