In the world of architecture, perhaps nothing is more utilitarian than a bridge. Indeed, not only do these spanning structures allow us to safely pass over a gap, but unlike some skyscrapers and homes, everyone has access to using a bridge. And just because they are functional does not mean they have to be ordinary in design. In fact, it’s in bridges that some of the world’s biggest architects show what their creative minds are capable of.
Constitution Bridge (Venice, Italy)
Completed in 2008, Venice’s Constitution Bridge is an iconic landmark that stands out within a city packed with incredible architecture. Designed by starchitect Santiago Calatrava, the structure is equally as beautiful to look at from above as it is from below (which is a concave, ribbed design).
Nescio Bridge (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Completed in 2006, Amsterdam’s Nescio Bridge was so breathtaking in beauty and form that it won three major awards in a two-year span. Designed by the London-based WilkinsonEyre, the total length of the structure spans almost 2,600 feet, carrying pedestrians and cyclists over the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal.
Zubizuri (Bilbao, Spain)
The Zubizuri footbridge (which also goes by the names Campo Volantin Bridge and Puente del Campo Volantin) was built in 1997. Designed by the legendary architect Santiago Calatrava, the structure is located in Bilbao, Spain.
Manhattan Bridge (New York City, U.S.A.)
When the Manhattan Bridge was completed in 1912, it took the Brooklyn Bridge’s place for the longest bridge in the city. Spanning some 6,855 feet across the East River, the Manhattan Bridge was designed by Leon Moisseiff. Today, hundreds of thousands of commuters use the bridge, crossing by automobile, subway train, bicycle, or on foot.
Széchenyi Chain Bridge (Budapest, Hungary)
Designed by the British-born engineer William Tierney Clark, Budapest’s Széchenyi Chain Bridge opened in 1849 and crosses the mighty Danube river.
Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, U.S.A.)
Among the most recognizable structures in the world, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937. Conceived by architect Irving Morrow, the Art Deco-designed building was named one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Puente de la Mujer (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Designed by st architect Santiago Calatrava, Puente de la Mujer, which was completed in 2001, is located in the commercial district of Buenos Aires.
Millau Viaduct (Creissels, France)
Running through the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France, the Millau Viaduct is the world’s tallest bridge, with a summit that rises some 1,125 feet above the base of the structure. Designed by architect Sir Norman Foster and structural engineer Michel Virlogeux, the bridge opened in 2004.
Charles Bridge (Prague, Czech Republic)
The Charles Bridge, which was completed in the early 1400s, is a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Built entirely of stone, the bridge nearly stretches 1,700 feet and is decorated with dozens of statues on both sides.