Suzhou Dajia, Double Bridges
Shanghai Co-base Structural Steel Co., Ltd
China Vanke Co., Ltd
Suzhou Suwang Construction Co., Ltd
Shanghai Lacime Architect Design Co., Ltd
Suzhou Tongshang Design Co., Ltd
Images: © Yaoli & Yuanyang
Two steel frame footbridges, each of 48 tonnes, span 28m over Suzhou City’s river. Each is composed of a thin aluminium arch deck and curved canopy, modelled on traditional Chinese timber boats. The innovative details on the vertical elements make the whole structure become a styled corridor, and a centrepiece of a large new residential project in the city.
These two covered footbridges span 28m over a river running through a recently built high quality residential development. The brief was to provide bridges of equivalent high quality in a form that recognises the traditional Chinese footbridge. Old bridges were made of wood, had relatively short spans, and were covered with a tiled roof. The challenge was to create a new design in contemporary materials that could span 28m. The design that was developed makes use of the canopy and the bridge deck working together with ingenious triangulated steel frames to form a vierendeel truss. Both canopy and deck are made of fabricated box sections, and the frames, at 2.25m centres, provide the vierendeel throughout all of the bridge with the exception of the last two bays at each end where steel bar diagonals are needed to transmit the shear. The triangulated frames are placed in the centre of the footpath so that both sides of the bridge are entirely clear of structure. The result is a very elegant contemporary version of the traditional bridge.