AN INITIAL STUDY ON BRIDGE AESTHETICS
Bronne C. Dytoc Allan Mark Ignacio, Joan Margaret Malana, Grace Nalda
University of the Philippines College of Architecture
ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on bridge aesthetics and its inclusion in a design process. Excerpts on bridge aesthetics attest to the significance in bridge design and its use. Thesis students of the University of the Philippines College of Architecture have initially chosen to investigate the pedestrian overpass beam bridge. Several variations have been generated and short- listed to the following final alternatives: (1) double-arch with linear deck, (2) A -shaped pylons cable-stayed with linear deck, (3) single canted arch with curved deck, (4) single pylon cable-stayed with curved deck. Under supervision of the Building Science and Structural faculty, the bridge alternatives were designed and evaluated in terms of construction and maintenance, forming the costs portion of the data. The benchmark-beam bridge and the four final alternatives were also scale- modeled, photo- montaged, and set up in controlled on-site exhibits, where pedestrians were surveyed for their preference. Furthermore, selected architects, artists, engineers, and psychologists were interviewed qualitatively, establishing an approximate bridge-evaluation-gradient model. The result is an initial template that integrates visual preference along with costs for bridge design selection. More studies on forms and site context are recommended. However, it is hoped that this may serve as a first model for evaluating future designs.
KEYWORDS: Architecture, Building Science, Bridge Aesthetics, Bridge Design, Research Methods In bridge design, there is a certain exercise in Engineering Aesthetics to be undertaken, and I feel that the integration of technology and aesthetics deserves special attention.1 When each of us first decided to become an engineer, we wanted to build beautiful bridges… beauty can be seen, strength and economy cannot!2 In (Roebling, Eiffel, or Maillart’s) bridges they have found…new structural capability, high estheic quality, and least cost, all at the same time. The key was their willingness to consider esthetic quality a criterion equal in stature to all the others, and the knowledge and creativity to meet the challenge that resulted.3 In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away… as if that line which the human eye will follow with effortless delight were a line that had not been invented, but simply discovered, had in the beginning been hidden by nature and in the end been found by the engineer.4
2 3 4
Taken from Santiago Calatrava’s Introduction. CALATRAVA bridges. Kenneth Frampton, Anthony Webster, and Anthony Tischhauser (1996). Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel. Edward Cohen. (1990) In the Eye of the Beholder. Esthetics in Concrete Bridge Design. ACI, Michigan. p 6 Frederick Gottemoeller. (1990) Esthetics and Engineers. Esthetics... p 171 Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Terre des Hommes.
Fig. 1. A few footbridges integrating structural form with visual appeal (L-R: Thames Millenium Bridge by Norman Foster and Ove Arup, Gateshead Millenium Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre and Gifford and Partners, and Salford Trinity Footbridge by Santiago Calatrava)
1. BEING AESTHETIC Studies have established that pleasure arises when adverse conditions are removed or moderate levels of arousal are achieved. Empirical aesthetics show that appreciation of beauty or pleasure has a positive effect on the human body. 5 Bridges in the city have this very potential to contribute to our daily urban experience, and the statements above are but a few quotes from noted engineers who espouse aesthetics as an important consideration in the training and application of bridge design. Countless examples throughout history, and more so in modern times, attest to the legitimacy of this view. However, in our local setting, proofs of creativity and daring in bridges are sorely lacking. Often, the design approach can be defensive, the result ugly. The visual appeal of the bridge can be attributed to its form, details and site context. This paper explores the issue by initially focusing on the pedestrian overpass beam bridge form. The study’s objectives are to (1) generate form-optimized alternatives and (2) determine popular preference for a particular site context. Both objectives hope to address and disprove the perception that optimized form and visual appeal result in bridges that cost more.
Fig. 2. Pedestrian Overpasses at Philcoa and EDSA-Aurora exhibiting non-variation in form from the straightline beam shape. Even the truss bridge near Batasan employs no variation in depth.
Studies by Helson in 1948 and 1964. Antonidades A. (1977) Architecture and Allied Design. USA.
2. A RECIPE TOWARDS BEAUTY IN BRIDGES The study is limited to overpass bridges with straight-run decks and does not include loop bridges or interconnected overpasses. Experimentation was limited to steel bridges as this meant faster fabrication and easier construction. Roofing was not included, following the MMDA guideline to discourage vending and loitering on bridges. 2.1 Phase I - Form • • • Identification of bridge types – Girder, Truss, Arch, Cable-stayed, and Suspension. Bridge types applicable to a medium span similar to EDSA. The suspension bridge was excluded as it was deemed more economical for long spans. Application of Aesthetic Bridge Principles of Simplicity, Thinness, Continuity, and Proportionate Shaping. 6 The truss was eliminated due to discontinuity of its diagonals.
As a result of these initial steps, the remaining forms are the Girder, Arch and Cable-Stayed bridges. The MMDA constant-depth girder footbridge was recognized as the benchmark. 2.2 Phase II - Sway Bridge variations were modeled in 1:200 scale and tested for bending and lateral motion.
CABLE-STAYED ARRAYS STAR FAN HARP GEOMETRIC
Fig. 3. Cable-Staye d Bridge Variations
Initial preference studies generated common trends which have been generally categorized. Frederick Gottemoeler (1998) Bridgescape: The Art of Designing Bridges. John Wiley & Sons, Canada.
ARCH CABLE ARRAYS PARALLEL RADIAL
Double Arch Inclined
Double Arch Parallel
Double Arch Meeting at Third Points
Double Arch Meeting at Base
Fig. 4. Arch Bridge Variations
Due to lateral sway the arch meeting at base and third points, and the V -shaped cable stayed bridge types were eliminated. Due to bending the star and geometric cable arrays were excluded. To further limit the stayed bridges, the cable arrangement was limited to the fan or radial array. 2.3 Phase III - Weight In light of response to the issue of lateral sway, a new variation each was generated for the arch and the cable-stayed bridges. A canted arch was combined with a cambered, curved deck, and an inclined pylon was combined with a cambered, curved deck. They are consequently called 3D single-arch and the 3D single-pylon, respectively. The rationale for these inclined curves was the employment of 3-dimensional actions of the canted arch and pylon against the curved deck to respond to lateral sway. The shortlist of bridges now includes the benchmark MMDA Girder, 4 Double-Arch Variations, 3 Cable-Stayed fan arrays, and the two 3D bridges. A total of 10 variations. These 10 “pre- finalists” were then designed and sized with more detail, using a span of 44 meters (as per MMDA design guidelines) and a load of 250 psf. The table below, Table 1, displays the estimated material weights converted from their designed sizes.
B EAMS (lbs)
Double Arch Parallel with Parallel Cables
Double Arch Parallel with Radial Cables
Double Arch Inclined with Parallel Cables
Double Arch Inclined with Radial Cables
(DAIR) A-Shape Portal Single Pylon 3D Single Arch 3D Single Pylon MMDA Girder 2,904.48 2,972.16 2,222.55 11,915.60 3,505.16 34,447.74 0.00 119.70 0.00 0.00 0.00 6,750.00 1,269.56 1,258.00 2,380.32 937.62 2403.33 0.00 4,585.63 4,585.63 4,585.63 4,075.14 4,585.63 0.00 12,600.00 12,600.00 12,600.00 12,600.00 12,600.00 12,600.00
29,528.36 13,376.35 23,094.13 10,461.64 53,797.74 24,370.38
Table 1. Estimated Weights of Bridge Variations
In summary, the DAIP has the least weight for double-arch bridges and the A-shape for cablestayed bridges. The 3D bridges were also quite competitive in terms of weight. Along with the MMDA Girder, these form the five “finalists” for the next phase of comparative analysis.
Fig. 5. The Five “Finalist” Bridges
2.4. Phase IV - Construction and Maintenance 2.4.1. Construction Costs - included the following : • • • • • • Material - Superstructure and Substructure steel, Earth, Concrete, and Form works, Electrical works and Site Finishing Fabrication - Welding and Shop painting/finishing Installation - Equipment fees, Transport costs, and On-Site Welding Labor - for all different aspects of fabrication, construction, and installation Design and Site Operations - Design and Documentation, Site Mobilization and Survey, Traffic Management, and other incidental costs and contingencies Construction Time - includes fabrication and installation, excludes curing time of concrete
2.4.2. Maintenance Costs - includes Restoration, Repairs, and Lighting for a period of 25 years Table 2 below shows the estimated construction costs of the five bridge variations while Table 3 shows production time estimates. Table 4 shows estimated maintenance costs over 25 years.
BRIDGE DAIP A-SHAPE 3D ARCH 3D PYLON MMDA MAT’L 1,073,571.92 1,034,400.04 799,860.06 846,463.73 2,252,083.03 FABRIC’N 417,127.54 381,556.69 324,041.64 342,190.91 917,471.76 INSTALL’N 268,804.15 197,250.34 197,231.11 221,947.30 220,512.33 LABOR 252,264.19 255,360.38 207,846.16 213,819.29 356,073.06 D’SIGN/SITE 1,652,591.22 1,596,599.88 1,463,820.78 1,501,138.71 2,144,134.01 TOTAL 3,664,375.01 3,465,179.34 2,992,803.76 3,125,569.93 5,890,292.19
Table 2. Estimated Costs of Bridge Variations
BRID GE DAIP A-SHAPE 3D ARCH 3D PYLON MMDA
Fabrication / Installation 11 8 10 8 6 16 14 14 14 13
TOTAL 27 22 24 22 19
BRIDGE DAIP A-SHAPE 3D ARCH 3D PYLON MMDA
Over 25 years 3,087,787.00 3,0755,75.00 3,103,336.00 3,0985,28.00 2,470,833.00
Table 3. Estimated Time of Bridge Production 7
Table 4. Estimated Maintenance Costs
It must be noted that these estimates of production time are quite ideal and are rendered moot and even irrelevant when tied into the reality of on-site problems and multi-party mis -coordination. A case in point is the trademark pink-and-blue MMDA overpass at the end of Julia Vargas corner C5. The main bridge spans were erected very quickly within what seems to be a week’s time, yet several weeks passed by before the locations and installation of stairs were finalized and realized. Furthermore, when compared to the expected 25-year service period, the issue of a variance of one week in total production time is considered insignificant.
2.5. Phase V - Popular Aesthetic Preference The five bridges were then modeled in 1:40m scale, painted white, photo- montaged, and laid out onto simulation boards for an exhibit and survey at a selected site along EDSA in Pasay’s Barangay 195. White was used since the study was not taking color schemes into consideration. The simulation boards and the models were laid in a linear manner, and their order of appearance was shuffled randomly every half hour to avoid “first-and- last impression” biases in selection. A categorical survey method with 200 adult respondents was employed to achieve data consistency and survey sensitivity level of 1.75, the measure in which to consider relevant difference. This method is also patterned after a study on environmental aesthetics and well-being. 8
Fig. 6. Sample Simulation Boards - 3D Single Pylon bridge on the left and Double Arch bridge on the right.
Participants who took part in the survey were asked to view the different designs and, once they have finished viewing all five, were asked to choose which bridge type they liked best. They were not given any information regarding weight, costs or maintenance, thus restricting their aesthetic preference of bridge form to what they see in the boards and the models.
BRIDGE DAIP A-SHAPE 3D ARCH 3D PYLON MMDA
Votes 143 30 7 1 19
Table 5. Aesthetic Preference Results
Fig. 7. Aesthetic Preference Survey at a Pedestrian Overpass in Barangay 195, Pasay, and Results
Galindo, M.P. and Rodriguez, J.A.C. (2000) Environmental Aesthetics and Psychological Wellbeing: Relationships between Preference Judgments for Urban Landscapes and Other Relevant Affective Responses. Psychology in Spain, Vol.4, No.1, 2000, p 13-27. Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos, Spain.
2.6. Phase VI - Expert Opinions and Rankings Educated non-random sampling or purposive sampling was also conducted with a group of professionals representing the 4 distinct fields of architecture, artistry, engineering, and psychology. Three representatives were consulted for each profession. They were informed of the comparative construction, maintenance, and aesthetic preference survey data of the five bridges. Upon becoming familiar with this larger scope of information, they were asked to rank the bridges from 1 (best) to 5 (worst). The results were tabulated and averaged.
BRIDGE DAIP A-SHAPE 3D ARCH 3D PYLON MMDA Architects 1.33 1.67 4.00 3.67 4.33 Artists 2.67 2.67 2.00 2.67 5.00 Engineers 1.00 2.00 4.50 2.33 4.50 Psychologists 1.67 1.33 3.00 2.33 2.00 AVERAGE
1.67 1.92 3.38 2.75 3.96
Table 6. Professional Rankings of the Five Bridge Schemes
Furthermore, they were asked to evaluate the importance of (1) construction issues, (2) maintenance programs, and (3) aesthetic preference in design selection of bridges. They were asked to rate these three aspects in percentage weights, totaling 100%.
Criteria Percentage Per Profession
Architects Construction Maintenance Preference Engineers
Fig. 8. Construction, Maintenance, Aesthetic Preference Rankings and Total Average on the right.
The obtained average percentage ratio among the three concerns was treated as the initial template grading system to determine the most preferable bridge.
BRIDGE % DAIP A-SHAPE 3D ARCH 3D PYLON MMDA Construction 31% 25.35 29.64 26.74 31.00 15.75 Maintenance 31% 24.81 24.90 24.68 24.72 31.00 Aesthetics 38% 27.17 5.70 1.33 0.19 3.61 TOTAL 100%
77.32 60.25 52.75 55.91 50.36
Table 7. Grading System Results for the Five Bridge Schemes 9
The professionals also defined added Safety and Security, Accessibility, Local Site Response, and Site Context as additional aspects in evaluating a bridge as preferable. 3. BEHOLDING BEAUTY : CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS After conducting the different phases of this first study into aesthetics in bridge design, it has been found that the most optimized bridge design, A -shaped cable-stayed bridge, was not the most aesthetically preferred, Double-arch bridge. This disparity, not surprisingly, is similar to the difference between nutritional meals and tasty cuisine. Furthermore, the numerical characteristics of material and costs lend support to the thesis that appealing bridges are not automatically costlier than conventional ones. On the contrary, the straight- line beam bridge, rated as the least preferred, also happened to be the costliest in terms of construction and weight. Nevertheless, the researchers recognize that more studies on various aspects and dimensions of this topic can be done to understand bridge design potentials more fully. Among them : • • • • • • • • Modelling bridge forms, main bridge elements, and details in parametric increments Designing more completely to generate more accurate numerical data Conducting more controlled methods in surveys to generate data and document behavior Studying the aspects of color schemes and lighting to give the bridge presence Studying lighting schemes for issues of security, safety, and recognition Studying details of stairs and access ramps for physical accessibility Studying how various site contexts relate to different bridge forms Using more detailed simulations, models, and mockups to understand visual perceptions of safety or danger, and aesthetic pleasure arousal, as these influence bridge design and usage
It is hoped that this initial study may spur interest in integrating the topics of form and aesthetics in bridge design education, both for architects and engineers.
Formulas : Least Construction.Cost x 31% Bridge Const. Cost
Least Maint. Cost x 31% Bridge Maint. Cost
Aesthetics Votes x 38% Total No. of Voters
______ (1990) Esthetics in Concrete Bridge Design. ACI, Michigan Antonidades A. (1977) Architecture and Allied Design. USA. Blaser, Werner. ed. (1990) Santiago Calatrava. Engineering Architecture. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel. Frampton, K., Webster, A., and Tischhauser, A. (1996) CALATRAVA Bridges. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel. Galindo, M.P. and Rodriguez, J.A.C. (2000) Environmental Aesthetics and Psychological Wellbeing: Relationships between Preference Judgments for Urban Landscapes and Other Relevant Affective Responses. Psychology in Spain, Vol.4, No.1, 2000, p 13-27. Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos, Spain. Gordon, J. E. (1978) STRUCTURES: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down. Penguin Books. England. Gottemoeler, F. (1998). Bridgescape: The Art of Designing Bridges. John Wiley & Sons, Canada. Pearce, M., and Jobson, R. (2002) Bridge Builders. Wiley-Academy. Britain
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bronne C. Dytoc is a practicing architect as well as a member of the University of the Philippines College of
Architecture faculty. Having acquired his B.S. Architecture degree from U.P. (1988), and his Masters degree in Building Science from the University of Southern California School of Architecture in Los Angeles (1992), he currently teaches architecture, structures, and technology, and conducts researches in building science and spatial quality. His commitment of integrating architecture and structure in teaching, writing, and practice has helped him earn the first University of the Philippines Innovation in Teaching Award. Email = firstname.lastname@example.org
Allan Mark Ignacio, Joan Margaret Malana, and Grace Nalda are graduating students at the
University of the Philippines College of Architecture, and have conducted research on this topic under Prof. B C Dytoc’s Building Science lab for their undergraduate thesis.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We would like to thank the following people for contributing their time and expertise as the professionals for the purposive sampling portion of this study. Architects Artists Engineers Grace Ramos, Romeo Santos, and Zenaida Galingan Benjie Cabangin, Ernesto Enrique, and Joy Ilagan Alfredo Juing, Ramon Nolido, and Ruel Ramirez
Psychologists Jose Gutierrez, Therese Lladoc, and Ronillene Malana We would also like to extend our gratitude to the AR71 Structures classes of the 1st semester, 2004, for helping extensively in the making of the many bridge variation models.