Creative Connections: Bridges as Art
David P. Billington
|Issue:||"Civil Engineering Magazine", March 1990, n. 3 v. 60|
Princeton University professor of civil engineering David P. Billington, at the invitation of civil engineering professors at Tokyo University, tours Japan and critiques several of the countrys new bridges. He also responds to artistic criticism from one of Japans foremost sculptors about the countrys recently completed Seto Great Bridge, actually a series of bridges that form part of the Honshu-Shikiku Bridge project in which Japan is connecting two of its four main islands by 2000. He sets forth a theory of design (citing three basic principles: efficiency, economy and elegance), not to set rules for the designer, but rather to offer a framework of criticism for the critic and the general public. This theory is used to critique the Hokko, Ajigawa and Kuma bridges, and yields suggestions for improvements in bridge design in Japan and the U.S. including: emphasizing design in engineering education, encouraging the individuality of designers, and stressing bridge-design criticism.