The Caballeros Footbridge – A Design Exercise

Every project that an architect designs does not always come to fruition. This was the case with the Caballeros footbridge. While it was a legitimate design intended to solve a particular problem, it was, however, never built.

It was the first in a series of designs which delved into the use of a single pylon to be used as a supporting member for a suspension bridge.

In the case of this specific bridge, designed to cross the Segre River in Lerida, Spain, the design issue was one of ground conditions. On one side of the river (the town side) the ground was suitably strong to hold up a bridge structure. On the opposite wooded side, such was not the case.

The solution seemed to Santiago Calatrava, that if you could suspend the entire bridge from one side of the river without needing any major support on the wooded side, that the problem would be solved.

As this was to be a pedestrian bridge only, the weight of any vehicular traffic did not enter into the equation. Therefore, a light weight steel and aluminum bridge surface would suffice to carry the traffic, which in turn would keep the cantilevered weight to a minimum. The span was to be some 140 meters.

Even though this bridge was never constructed, the design exercise did end up becoming a stepping stone for Santiago Calatrava for a number of his future bridge designs.

The single steel pylon was to extend out a moderate distance over the river, and would be anchored back to the supporting concrete structure behind the pylon itself. It would be similar to a construction crane in that respect, except in this case, the cables would remain static.

Please join me for a further in depth look at the works of Santiago Calatrava by visiting here. Thank you.

Keith Elliott is a retired builder with interests in Astronomy, Architecture, Japanese Gardening, Photography, Writing, Woodworking and anything else that doesn't move.

Author: Keith Elliott
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