By Teresa Simon
Photography:courtesy 10 media
|Zhuhai Shizimen Bridge View|
The goal of creating an elegant and sculptural structure that is simultaneously structurally rational and efficient, celebrates two marvelously integrated disciplines – design and engineering …
Design + Engineering is a common collaboration – one that spells success in form and function. Taking this equation to the next level, international studio of architects and designers, ‘10’ and independent international practice of consulting engineers, ‘Buro Happold’ have won the design competition for the key signature gateway bridge for the new Shizimen Business District in Zhuhai, China.
As gateway entry to south China’s newly planned commercial hub, the feature bridge is envisaged as a simple and elegant structure that would be a visual focal point both within the Shizimen District itself and along the Pearl River Delta coastline, especially as it connects the two.
|Bridge Deck Section|
|Bridge Arch Section|
The winning bridge scheme (300m long) proposes an undulating ribbon of structure that wraps around the 6 lane road deck in the form of a continuous sculptural loop. Starting at the lower level, the loop cradles the road deck; the structural ribbon then soars upwards to create two triangulated arches: one primary and other secondary, which support the road deck over two separate distinct spans via suspension cables.
The continuity of the loop structure is visible from the opposite mainland shoreline to the west, and appears as a dramatic free-standing infinity loop.
As 10’s first real exposure to major bridge design and with a 300m waterway to cross, working with an able creative engineering team was mandatory, to say the least. “By tying 2 simple parabolic arches together in a single ribbon form we could split the bridge into 2 simpler spans. Thereby keeping a rational structure while making a strong formal statement, in that the bridge when reflected off the water created a double 8 figure, a sign of prosperity in Chinese culture,” says David Emmer, Design Associate at 10. Equally ecstatic at being the ones to ultimately engineer this world landmark structure, Buro Happold’s Hayden Nuttall adds, “Its great when a team really pulls together an eye-catching design that is underpinned by elegant and efficient engineering.”
The project is slated to begin in 2013.
|Bridge Structural Diagram|