Infinite Bridge

Here’s one for the bridge fans among you. It’s Gjøde & Povlsgaard Arkitekter’s Infinite Bridge in Aarhus (in the middle of Aarstreet), Denmark.
From above, it’s rather London Eye, isn’t it?

…but flat.


The Infinite Bridge has a diameter of 60 meters and is positioned half on the beach and half in the sea. It consists of 60 identical wooden elements placed on steel pillars housed about two meters into the sea floor. The deck of the bridge rises between one and two meters above the water surface depending on the tide. The curvature of the bridge follows the contours of the landscape as it sits at the mouth of a small river valley extending into the forest from the beach.

No fence. But Danish people are known for their sense of balance and are generally great swimmers, so it’s all ok.

Described by its designers as an opportunity to “experience the changing landscape as an endless panoramic composition and at the same time enter a space of social interaction with other people experiencing the same panorama” (i.e. there are views and crowds) (c.f. iterum London Eye).

It’s a very pretty thing, as you can see on the gallery at the link above, but while it is a bridge in that is is:

a structure carrying a road, path, railway, etc. across a river, road, or other obstacle.

it’s not exactly very functional, is it? And yes, I know it’s not meant to be functional – I do recognise that it’s sculpture, it’s “a true art piece”, but while you’re admiring the images of it – check out its little companion at the bottom of that pic above.

(c)_-_DANISH_TMIt’s basically a plank over a stream – an ugly, disappointing, almost pitiful effort against that sweeping, circular path of beauty next door. But look at how good it is at effectively carrying people from one side of the stream to the other. See how they can continue their onward journey. Note how they are physically able to access another place by using it.

So sure, the infinite bridge is the big, headline-grabbing principal player in this story and I’m sure it’s a wonderful addition to Aarhus’ landscape, but maybe there’s a lesson here to never forget the ordinary, hard-working backroom team that allow the star to shine.

“Streets in the Sky”

That was the dream of the designers of Park Hill Estate in Sheffield. And apparently it worked for a while. But during my childhood in the Steel City, Park Hill was virtually a no-go area. Things are looking up now, as it’s been taken on by a urban regeneration company with a trendy name a a penchant for bright colours.
Richard Sillitoe and his camera got there before they started to make good:


The Guardian piece is quite interesting, spelling out the ideas of the utopian estate thought up around the time of the Second World War:

Young Sheffield city council architects Ivor Smith and Jack Lynn began work in 1945, designing a radical scheme to rehouse the local community. Park Hill was the first successful post-second world war slum clearance scheme of an entire community in Britain.

And though they had plenty to do, paradoxically the bar was set pretty low, because the area was pretty awful to begin with, with no sewerage system, and regular typhus and cholera outbreaks.


Their ideas were lofty, much like the streets they panned, but doomed to eventual failure.

Inspired partly by Le Corbusier, the ‘deck access scheme’ was seen as revolutionary. Its style was known as brutalism, and the concept described as ‘streets in the sky’, where milk floats would trundle along broad decks, stopping at front doors, as if they were in a normal street.
Families were re-homed next to their neighbours to maintain a strong sense of community, and old street names were re-used.

It all fell apart in the 1980s though:

Unemployment was rising as the local steel industry collapsed, Park Hill had descended into dilapidation and was no longer a place people wanted to live in. Boarded up pubs, burned out cars, rubbish, graffiti, it became a ‘no go’ area. The maze of alleys and walkways made it a perfect place for muggings; there were also problems with drugs, poor noise insulation, and even tales of air rifle snipers shooting at kids in the school playground. The spirit and traditions of the pre-war communities faded away, as the original residents aged and eventually died.

And that’s the Park Hill I will always remember: the eyesore on the gateway to Sheffield from the M1.

They’re trying again now, with more of a mix of commercial and residential units: inner city living is the new cool.
I hope it works.

Photos: David Sillitoe at Flickr

Nice introduction, interesting idea

Here’s the story:

Synthetic living creatures would be released into the wild to save endangered species and clean up pollution under this futuristic proposal by designer Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.
Called Designing for the Sixth Extinction, the project is designed to trigger debate about how artificial organisms could be used to solve environmental problems.

And here’s how Brian Micklethwait introduced it:

Synthetic creatures could “save nature” says Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.
Has this woman never seen any horror movies?

Haha! Brilliant!

It’s an interesting idea, but it’s not as revolutionary as you might think. Bio-engineering of microorganisms – although not strictly ‘synthetic’ – is already being used to sort out environmental issues, such as these methanotrophs. But Ms Ginsberg is thinking of things on a larger scale:


“These are bio-remediating slugs that reduce acidity levels in the soil to make it more hospitable. Soils get really acidic due to pollution; their slug trails are very alkali and they neutralise the soil.”

Cute. I think I want a bio-remediating slug as a pet. I’d feed it on sand soaked in vinegar and we’d all live happily ever after.

But seriously, these are interesting and promising concepts and an innovative way of looking at some of the environmental problems we face. Until, that is (as Brian points out), they unite, mutate and quickly take over the planet.


I shared this elsewhere yesterday, but that doesn’t stop me sharing it here today.

Firstly, the bad news. It’s a door handle. I want to tell you about a door handle.

How exciting can that be? Well, I think it’s pretty cool, actually:

So, you and the family is going on this big vacation and just as you finish locking up everything and shut the main door, your wife calls out – hon, did you check the gas and switch-off all the lights? Sounds familiar? How about if you had the ‘Off’ installed! It is a door handle with connections to your mains like gas supply and electricity. Simply switch off both or either one of the services by rotating the dial and flip it back to activate it all. Super cool and innovative I tell ya!

Look, we don’t have gas here, but we do have a two water heaters and a pool pump which would CHOW electricity (despite this) if we left them on while we headed down to Agulhas (or wherever).

What a brilliant idea: saves electricity and gas, reduces nagging, saves time, prevents stress.