Singapore’s Henderson Waves: a bridge just rightShare
After observing the “complications” afflicting Santiago Calatrava’s design for the Peace Bridge in Calgary, Canada (in brief: decent design; unpopular approval process; too expensive), it was pleasant to stumble upon the Henderson Waves and Alexandra Arch, which make up portions of a singular system of bridges hovering above one of Singapore’s national parks.
The spans connect Mount Faber and Telok Bangah Hill, two high points in the Telok Bangah Hill Park. As the photos show, the main bridge is a writhing web of steel ribs clad in yellow balau (a wood similar to teak), resembling a giant tape worm bobbing up and down. Each undulation supplies a convenient, shaded spot for wavelike benches to rise up from the walking platform, and provides great forms for nightly LED light displays.
Norman Foster’s Millau Viaduct, and to a lesser degree, his Millenium Bridge immediately come to mind; the former for similarly using concrete piers that dominate the landscape below (despite having a relatively small footprint) and the latter for similarly using rythmic changes in horizontal and vertical elevation.
It also seems like there is a growing trend to relate bridges to the water below (and even if there isn’t any water below) by way of undulations in form. I don’t think this is a bad thing, since most of the ones I’ve seen are nicely executed (here for your enjoyment: (1) West 8’s Simcoe Wavedeck in Toronto, phenomenal Bridges Borneo-Sporenberg in Amsterdam, and torquing Bridge Vlaardingse Vaart in Vlardingen (2) Wilkinson Eyre Architects’ arresting Bridge of Aspiration in London, and even (3) CA-Design’s dynamically angular Quingpu Pedestrian bridge in Shanghai), but it does make me wonder whether the conceit’s shelf life, if indeed it has one, will soon expire. There are certainly plenty of iternations out there.