This article discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the contemporary bridge design process, and calls for more emphasis on aesthetics in engineering education. The specific functional requirements and constraints of bridge designs include clearance and construction schedule. The most important additional design objectives are: structural safety, serviceability, economy, and elegance. The aesthetic aspects of bridge design are more important than is often admitted. Bridges all too often have negative impacts on the natural and human environments, for example from exhaust emissions and noise, or poor aesthetic quality. There is an urgent need for bridges of high technical and aesthetic merit, and a leading role for engineers in any collaboration with architects in bridge design. Aesthetic criteria for bridge design include: spatial and temporal components, visualisation of technical efficiency, order and unity of the whole structure, and artistic shaping. The design concept must cover structural members and details as well as the structure as a whole. To improve the aesthetic quality of bridges, it is important that engineering undergraduates are given comprehensive training in the visual aspects of design, which would require substantial changes in curricula, and that transport authorities support aesthetic quality.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering

    ETH-Honggerberg, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 15
    Zurich 8093,   Switzerland  CH-8093
  • Authors:
    • MENN, C
  • Publication Date: 1996-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 93-5
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00726598
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Oct 28 1996 12:00AM