Bridges – Christian Menn

 

“In ancient Rome, the highest priests held the title of pontifex, which means builder of bridges. By providing a link between gods and men, these pontifices were indeed builders of spiritual bridges between heaven and earth.”– Christian Menn

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Scheidegger and Speiss, 1st edition 2015, 352 pp, ISBN 978-3-85881-455-5, £70 Hardcover

The humble bridge, while it may not strike you as one of the most exciting topics of conversation to introduce at a dinner party, is without a doubt one of the most significant early feats of structural engineering, which revolutionised travel dating back as far ancient Rome.

Of those involved in modern bridge design and construction, few are more noteworthy than renowned Swiss structural engineer Christian Menn, whose work spanned the latter decades of the 20th century, went on to inspire a generation of future bridge designers, and continued a long-standing tradition of Swiss excellence.

This stunning publication from Scheidegger and Speiss features more than 30 of Menn’s revolutionary designs, both built and unrealised, across 276 full colour and black and white images, with in-depth captions analysing the specifics of each project.

Menn’s text highlights his thinking and philosophy, approaching the circumstances and design process surrounding each individual project, demonstrating the passion and enthusiasm one expects more from an artist than an engineer. The book offers a fascinating insight into not just Menn’s experience as a bridge designer but also the art and history of structural engineering.

While many of Menn’s designs have become landmarks admired for their stunning design work and elegance, some of those displayed within the book will not take the layman’s breath away, instead appearing as those to be driven across and forgotten. Nonetheless each is a spectacular feat of design and engineering, a lifetime of work and passion, and years of combined construction, creating what is truly a work of art in its own right.

This review was first published on online for E&T magazine.

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