This wonderfully designed bridge was built for the 1992 Universal Exhibition in Seville and spans the Canal de Alfonso XIII, a construction which began in 1989 and was completed 3 years later, enabling access to the island of La Cartuja.
The initial project included two twin bridges placed in opposite directions and supporting the same mass. However, due to esthetic and financial reasons only one was built, proving to be even more striking and intriguing. Being the first cable-stayed bridge supported only in a inclined mast, its building presented the constructors with many unprecedented challenges, which they have obviously overcome. In addition to that, the costs proved to be much higher than for a normal cable-stayed bridge.
Santiago Calatrava spared no expense when designing the structure, having no economic constraints. This fact allowed him to provide the inhabitants of Seville with something more than just a way to get across the river, but with an icon for the city, a piece of architecture which contributes to the beauty of the entire landscape. This monument integrates the eminent aspirations and beliefs of the city of Seville; it is linked to La Giralda, a former minaret and the symbolic roof of the city, a perfect vantage point for the bridge.
The result though is spectacular and unique at the same time, with a great deal of personality. The mast is inclined at 58 degrees and rises to a maximum height of 142 meters, being made of steel filled with concrete. This vast element supports the weight of the bridge deck, to which is connected to through 13 pairs of steel cables. Its uniqueness stands in the fact that the lift of the bridge is supported by tilting the mast, without opposite cables. The total length of the bridge is 250 m and maximum span is 200 m; bellow the bridge 54 steel piles carry out the weight. Too bad though that the top of the pylon is designed to be a viewpoint but it is not open to public, probably for safety reasons.
Designing something, anything really with passion is of the utmost importance. Even if the bridge lacks the principles of economy, it doesn’t really matter. It is unique, beautiful, a true joy for the people crossing it. And, as most of Calatrava’s unique and stunning designs, it makes the world a better and more beautiful, intriguing place proving at the same time that without brilliant architects, our cities would be quite dull and boring.
Photo courtesy to Gonzalo Navarro
Location: Seville (Andalusia–Spain)
Carries: motor vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles
Crosses: Guadalquivir river
Designer: Santiago Calatrava
Design :cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge
Total length: 250 m
Height :140 m