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Bridging design techniques
November 14, 2013 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Beijing and Amsterdam-based studio NEXT architects have won first place in a bridge design competition for Meixi Lake near the Changsha capital in Hunan, China. The shape was inspired by the Mobius Strip and Chinese knotting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (17 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Form over function. As an architect this kind of crap embarrasses me to no end. Delight yes, willful form making no.
posted by phoffmann at 7:22 AM on November 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I had something else in mind when I pictured a bridge that was inspired by a mobius strip. It didn't seem practical.
posted by entropone at 7:22 AM on November 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Looks fun, but even the flatter paths are going to be too crazy for someone with disabilities.

Interesting that the firm is based in Amsterdam and Beijing - Rem Koolhaas started doing the same thing (although, Rotterdam) when he was working on the CCTV tower in Beijing, and from what he was saying then, he was really looking forward to working in China for the upcoming future just because of the lack of design review committees and bureaucracy.

Form over function. As an architect this kind of crap embarrasses me to no end. Delight yes, willful form making no.

Yeah, but I'm guessing that's kind of the point. It's more of a garden folly than a serious bridge.
posted by LionIndex at 7:25 AM on November 14, 2013


Someone is bound to get hurt trying to jump between the higher and lower walkway. It's a pretty bridge, but not exactly practical.
posted by arcticseal at 7:27 AM on November 14, 2013


Well I think it's beautiful. But the real story here is about all of those semitransparent buildings.
posted by hypersloth at 7:46 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait, how are you supposed to drive a triple-stacked tractor trailer over it?
posted by slogger at 8:10 AM on November 14, 2013


It being a pedestrian bridge, I'm guessing you're not....
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:15 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yep, it's going to be a pedestrian bridge in a new built-from-scratch masterplanned development, south west of the existing city of Changsha.

The middle, less wavy path looks like it could be fairly functional, though annoying for people with limited mobility.


- Someone is bound to get hurt trying to jump between the higher and lower walkway.

- from what he was saying then, he was really looking forward to working in China for the upcoming future just because of the lack of design review committees and bureaucracy.

When I was in college studying landscape architecture, we were talking about play parks for kids, and how the fun has been drained from such structures due to fear of litigation. We looked longingly at what was happening in other countries, where hyper-safety didn't trump all other concerns.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:19 AM on November 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


It being a pedestrian bridge, I'm guessing you're not....

Yeah, but overstacked bikes definitely will if I my experience in China is any indication.
posted by msbrauer at 8:21 AM on November 14, 2013


It looks at least kinda functional to me. Basically, this is (a) a level elevated walkway spanning the river, (b) five sets of stairs that can take you between the walkway and the ground, and (c) two little observation decks that stick up above the walkway.

Judging from the drawing, it makes sense for the walkway to be elevated because there's a big hill at one end anyway. At some point in the crossing, you'll have to go up or down a flight of stairs no matter what.

And it makes sense for there to be multiple sets of stairs because there are multiple places you might want to descend: before the river; after the river but before the roadway; after the roadway.

That's assuming you can get safely between the two walkways where they cross. The one drawing labeled "connections" implies you can. (If you can't do that, then okay, I take it back, this is a pretty useless bridge after all.)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 8:29 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, uh, no ADA equivalent in China, I'm guessing?
posted by entropicamericana at 8:29 AM on November 14, 2013


If you can't do that, then okay, I take it back, this is a pretty useless bridge after all.

we were talking about play parks for kids, and how the fun has been drained from such structures due to fear of litigation


Yeah, this is kind of what I was saying by referencing Koolhaas' thoughts. If the Chinese want to build some bridge that really does nothing but looks pretty, what's wrong with that?
posted by LionIndex at 8:49 AM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


It looks at least kinda functional to me. Basically, this is (a) a level elevated walkway spanning the river, (b) five sets of stairs that can take you between the walkway and the ground, and (c) two little observation decks that stick up above the walkway.

Judging from the drawing, it makes sense for the walkway to be elevated because there's a big hill at one end anyway. At some point in the crossing, you'll have to go up or down a flight of stairs no matter what.

And it makes sense for there to be multiple sets of stairs because there are multiple places you might want to descend: before the river; after the river but before the roadway; after the roadway.


To me, it seems it has four entry points and crosses three things. From the left in the figure, an entry point on a hill, then a crossing of a minor road, then an entry point on a pathway, then the crossing of the river, then an entry point on another pathway, then the crossing of an expressway, then an entry point in an undefined area. Not knowing anything of the context -- and the illustration not being keen on showing any context, less we be distracted from the architect's masterwork by, you know, thinking about how it may be used, it seems far from clear to me that most people will be going up or down that mysterious hill to the left.

And for those who just want to get across the road or river, they have to climb up quite a lot - the peak over the river is described as 24m, implying the deck is 12-16m; you have to go up four to five stories worth of stairs to get to the bridge deck. The river looks like a pleasure canal, based on what the master plan describes and what the illustration shows -- there are cases where navigable inland waterways need high clearance, but that's clearly not a restriction here. So there is a ridiculous burden placed on the users of the bridge for no good reason other than aesthetics.

It looks very nice, and if the Chinese want to build a sculptural element with a secondary purpose of being a bridge, that's their business. I would have asked that my bridge be functional to everybody on a daily basis, but I'm not paying for the thing.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:22 AM on November 14, 2013


It doesn't look like they added any traditional Chinese elements to it. So a Möbius strip really isn't Orientable?
posted by benito.strauss at 10:30 AM on November 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Remember when we were young and the future was ours?
posted by srboisvert at 11:56 AM on November 14, 2013


Car-Free City: China Builds Dense Metropolis from Scratch
posted by kliuless at 8:36 PM on November 16, 2013


Scale Lane Bridge by McDowell+Benedetti
posted by homunculus at 5:06 PM on December 1, 2013


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