SAHARA Highlights: Bridges

by Jacqueline Spafford and Jeffrey Klee, SAHARA Co-Editors | Jun 11, 2018

This month we glimpse some examples of the incredible variety and number of bridges in SAHARA. They span the globe, from ancient to contemporary, modest wooden footbridges to engineering marvels, iconic to obscure. As usual it was very difficult to make a selection. Please explore the amazing contributions from our members to see how rich the collection is.

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Rio Cobre Bridge, Kingston, Jamaica. Thomas Wilson, engineer, 1801. This cast iron bridge which connects Spanish Town and Kingston was constructed by Walker and Co. in Rotherham, England, and shipped to Jamaica.  It is the earliest cast iron bridge in the Western Hemisphere. Photo: Jeff Klee, 2011.

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20K v07 Bridge House, Greensboro, Alabama, US. By Auburn University Rural Studio, 2008. Photo: Anna Goodman, 2010.

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Hoge Brug (Hoe Bridge or Python Bridge), Amsterdam, Netherlands. Designed by West 8, 2001. The bridge spans the canal between Sporenburg and Borneo Island in Eastern Docklands. Photo: Mesut Dinler.

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Teufelsbrücke (Devil’s Bridge), Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, Kassel, Germany. Designed by Giovanni Francesco Guerniero, under Heinrich Christoph Jussow, ca 1780-1805. Photo: Lauren Soth.

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Khaju Bridge, Isfahan, Iran. This bridge was built in the Safavid period by Shah Abbas II.  The traveler Jean Chardin (1643-1713) declared it "the culminating monument of Persian bridge architecture and one of the most interesting bridges extant...where the whole has rhythm and dignity and combines in the happiest consistency, utility, beauty, and recreation." Photo: Mehdi Azizkhani, 2016.

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Meems Bottom Bridge, Shenandoah, Virginia, US. Built by John Woods in 1894; steel beams and new road surface added 1937; all but truss destroyed by arson 1976 and rebuilt 1976-1979. Photo: Dell Upton, 1979.

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Rock Island Railroad Bridge (or Clinton Park Bridge) on the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas, US. Built as a swing bridge in 1899, it was converted to a lift-span in 1972, and to a pedestrian bridge in 2010-11. Photo: Ann Burns, 2006.

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Jiangnan section of Grand Canal bridge, Suzhou, China. This 1,103 mile-long bridge was begun in the 8th century BC, completed 581-618CE, and restored in the 15th century. Photo: Dell Upon, 2006.

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The Bridge of Aspiration, which connects the Royal Ballet School to the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, UK. Wilkson Eyre Architects, 2003.  Photo: Peter Sealy, 2011.




Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.
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