A collaborating team of 10 Design and Buro Happold has been named the winner of an international competition for a gateway bridge into southern China’s newest commercial development: Shizimen Business District in Zhuhai. The partnership also took second and third place in the contest for two of four secondary bridges in the region.
The basic design concept centres on a double 8 figure which is a symbol of prosperity in China, and takes the form of a single looping ribbon which rises up in two recognisable forms. The first of this pair of arches reaches 100m in height and wraps across the bridge deck in a diagonal fashion, ‘celebrating not only the crossing of vehicular and pedestrian traffic’ and touching the ground again at the meeting point of the canal and the Pearl River Delta.
Simple shapes are the key to success in this project. The ribbon ties itself around the six-lane highway and appears to cradle the road deck before the loops arch into the sky. Much complex engineering has gone into making this bridge structure seem completely weightless with the elegant threads lending a refined measure to the burgeoning business district.
The design team explains: “The continuity of the loop structure is visible from the opposite mainland shoreline to the west, and appears as a dramatic free-standing infinity loop. Complex coastline conditions created an odd and asymmetric span, however we realised that by tying two simple parabolic arches together in a simple ribbon form we could split the bridge into two simpler spans.”