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Amazing Architecture Bridge Design.


The purpose of this guideline is to help design teams produce bridges of aesthetic value.The term ‘guideline’in the document refers to the requirements, objectives,design principles and processes that guide the design of bridges.In addition, this guideline will help transport infrastructure agencies, set down unequivocal aesthetic outcomes so that designers and construction companies are made aware of what is required and can focus on innovation in achieving that.

The document is primarily intended to be applied to everyday practice to the more common bridges which are an abundant and highly visible element of and across roads. But it is also for the iconic landmark bridges which are inspirational. Indeed, bridges are usually iconic because of the size of their spans, the terrain they traverse, their role and cultural importance, their technology and the design response that the context evokes. A bridge can be considered to be iconic when its design stands out as something unique and is seen to be a symbol of a community or place.

The aesthetics of pedestrian bridges is often given less consideration than road bridges notwithstanding the community role they play, their visibility and the design possibilities they inherently have. These guidelines are aimed at ensuring that the aesthetics of pedestrian bridges are taken just as seriously as road bridges.

Urban design

The high level urban design policy and guidelines document Beyond the Pavement forms an overarching

It aims to achieve desired urban design outcomes from transport infrastructure in urban, rural and bushland settings. This means that all projects should achieve: a sensitive fit with the built, natural and community environment; good connections for communities.

It identifies Bridge Aesthetics as one of a suite of detailed guideline compendium documents that support the policy.

It recognises the contribution that bridges of heritage significance make to the character, history and cultural environment of areas and communities and underlines the need to protect them in the context of their setting.

It stresses the need for professional urban design involvement on all projects – this is especially important if bridge aesthetic outcomes are to be achieved.


There is a deep realisation that beauty results from understanding and expressing the materials of the time, something not unrelated to structurally expressive form.


While aesthetic value is not reliant on colour it is universally recognised that colour can enhance or mark a bridge, as is the case with the red lead paint (sometimes called orange vermilion) on the well known Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, which is especially dramatic when visible either in strong sunlight or appearing through the fog.


Over and above lighting for safety requirements, the use of lighting is seen to be of value in highlighting the features of a bridge in the landscape, creating reflectivity over water and giving the bridge and its curtilage prominence at night.

Bridge aesthetics guidelines

While the case is made for bridge aesthetic guidelines there is not much evidence of such guidelines in practice: the most important example that has served as a model for these guidelines is The Appearance of Bridges and Other Highway Structures, The Highways Agency which emphasises principles rather than prescriptive rules. This is quite different to the Aesthetics Bridges Users Guide, 1987 of the Maryland State Highway Administration, USA which is more a process directed guideline involving conferences, competitions and a program of seminars.