[EAS] Millau Bridge

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Fri Dec 17 18:19:35 EST 2004

Subject:   Millau Bridge

Way back around 1960, when I was an undergraduate at Columbia, I was
already much involved with the "pieces of electrical engineering,"
its electronic components. It was a time of a widely shared sense of
promise, the beginning of the transition from vacuum tubes to
semiconductors, with which we aspired to large contributions.

Around that time I took a course in 19th and 20th-century
architecture, a subject by its very nature "writ large." I still
retain, at a cocktail party discussion level, recollections of Louis
Sullivan and his Carson, Pirie & Scott department store, and the
pivotal contributions of Frank Lloyd Wright. But my most lasting
impressions are of the pioneering virtuosi of reinforced concrete,
Pier Luigi Nervi and, most of all, the bridges of Robert Maillart,
particularly his Salginatobel bridge of 1930. (With Google image
searching it becomes trivial to pull up a couple of examples)


It was never given the field of electrical engineering to be able
fuse its ingeniously complex ingredients, writ ever smaller on the
head of a pin, into a monument like a Maillart bridge made of
concrete and steel, fused together subject to elegantly simple
concepts. So I remain as always jealous but also deeply admiring,
when I see Norman Foster's new bridge in Millau, France.


In the present "space race" of bridge design it is a bold new entry.
The Scout Report link is itself a guide to further links.


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