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Bridges: A constant reminder of how awesome we are

July 9, 2009

This is the Millau Viaduct, in the district of Aveyron, in the South of France. Upon its completion in 2004, it became the tallest bridge in the world, with one of its masts reaching up to 1,125ft; that’s only about 125ft shorter than the Empire State Building. Plans for constructing some bypass of the Tarn River and its valley date back to 1987, but weren’t finalized until 2001. Typical French efficiency at work there.

There’s something about the expansiveness, and how they can overcome natural adversities, that attracts people to bridges. Artists have always been painting them, and engineers have always been trying to make them cooler. I can’t say I’m much different. While advances in modern thinking and technology are allowing for civil engineering projects like the Millau to exist, it’s also the advances in technology that allow us to appreciate them in stunning full view. While panoramic photography has existed in some form for ages, most of it revolved around cutting and pasting (pre CTRL+X / CTRL + V days) images together, or distorting the image in some way. I guess digital panoramic photos of massive bridges in France, posted to the Internet for the entire world to see, aren’t too astounding for us in 2009, but sometimes I like to try and put things back in perspective. There used to be a time not too long ago where coffee books were the only viable media for transmitting large photographs worthy of our attention. Just remember to take some time to thank Al Gore every so often.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ben P permalink
    July 10, 2009 12:07 am

    I have always appreciated the engineering of the bridges, and more recently the mammoth cable-stayed bridges (like Millau). The fan look is really amazing. It’s a shame all we have are the boring Ben Franklin (and others) to keep us company in Philly. Hopefully the new South Street bridge will not disappoint bridge connoisseurs.

    (I’m sort of curious as to what prompted a blog post about the odd combination of a bridge from 2004, bridges as an artform, and panoramic photography)

  2. July 10, 2009 12:28 am

    To be honest, I’m not really sure. It just struck me as something not enough people think about, and something I enjoy. Maybe one day I’ll create an Internet version of a coffee table book about bridges. Yuppies will still have to put something in the middle of their tables to spur conversation in the future.

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