Engineering humanity into nature

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, open to foot and cycle traffic only, crosses the Waiwhakaiho River on New Plymouth’s coastal walkway.

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Rising like a giant skeleton, Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

The Big T and I first spotted the bridge’s arched white skeleton from a distance — unsure what exactly we were seeing. The overall impression is one of giant dinosaur or fish bones, or perhaps a breaking wave? The ribbed structure was the designer’s response to the landscape; coastal, semi-rural and also the site of a Maori burial ground.

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Hidden by the mist, but on a clear day Mt Taranaki is framed by the bridge’s arches. Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Peter Mulqueen, the engineer who designed the bridge has said of his design that it should “touch lightly” on the Rewa Rewa side of the river, in order to honour the deceased (1)

Organic design — allowing human-made structures to harmonise with the natural landscape –is a relatively recent trend in New Zealand engineering projects. It is driven perhaps by a changing philosophy within engineering design towards greater sensitivity to nature, but also owes much to new design technologies which enable engineers to virtually model ideas to test their feasibility and robustness.

The Big T works with such technologies every day, and there is a special pleasure in visiting beautiful works of engineering with him, knowing that the work he and others do is playing a huge role in lightening the touch of humans on the natural world around us.

This post was written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.

(1) Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Engineering humanity into nature

  1. Amazing pictures, Su Leslie! What a magnificent bridge! I love bridges and the idea that stands behind them. I especially like the ones by Calatrava but this one is definitely going to be one of my favourites! Thank you so much for sharing it with us:)

    Like

  2. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (and Nature) | Lens and Pens by Sally

  3. OMG – I LOVE this! Why can’t contemporary structures in North America be more interesting and aesthetically beautiful with the environment?!

    What’s even more remarkable is that this was built for foot and bike traffic. It seems to me you Kiwis *get it*.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Joanne. There does seem to be a shift (for the better) in our public works design aesthetic, and very slowly we are coming to recognise that cars are not the only way to get around. But it’s slow and for every lovely footbridge we build, there are still miles and miles of new motorways being constructed too.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s