Monday, 6 June 2016

02 - Keywords: Bridges; Bridges; Bridges

Let me tell you how it all started. Make a cup of tea, take a warm blanket (at least if you are in France now – 2nd June – you need one...), lay back and listen to the story of my life. :) Well, don't expect a story of Woody Allen-kind, but I'll try to do my best to describe and explain how my relationship with bridges has ever been developing.

Back in 2008 I applied to civil engineering studies (at BME) basically just because in high school I was good in maths. :) I found architecture a nice and creative profession (where you still need maths), however I wasn't ready for the entering examination of drawing which is the key-point there and - as so many other people in Hungary – I just switched to civil engineering, which I imagined as architecture with simply less drawing and more calculation. :) In Hungarian we say 'Építész(mérnök)' for architect and 'Építőmérnök' for civil engineer, so it's really confusing and it assures you: they can't be too much different.

Since the very beginning of my studies bridges have become my favourite structures. It's not really surprising considering that I lived in Budapest and was crossing the bridges of Danube (in average more than 500 metre long ones) day after day. Moreover I was even passing under some bridges by my kayak. Although it happened only once that with my team we paddled through (in flatwater kayaks) from the north of Budapest to the south, passing under seven bridges, and I can tell you it was just crazy so I had absolutely no time and guts to admire bridges while I was struggling for my life. I remember I even made a resolution for not eating chocolate for two(!) weeks if I could survive that day :) Imagine an anxious river full of touristic and cargo ships, hydrofoils (making the 'best' waves) and vivid south wind (which is the worst considering that in Budapest Danube flows from north to south). But this experience made me realize at least what a masterpiece of engineering the Elisabeth bridge (you can find it among the pictures below) is, having one single span in the riverbed and in this way lacking river piers. The equation here is: no pier = no (or at least much less) current = much happier kayaker. ;)

My fondness for bridges was also greatly arisen by my enthusiastic professors, among whom I have to mention at least Prof. László Dunai, who held amazing lectures of steel and steel-concrete composite bridges.
Later, during my Master studies, I had the opportunity to follow some lectures held by Jean-Yves Del Forno and Vincent de Ville de Goyet from Greisch, which company has been involved in the design of many bridges even as spectacular ones as the viaduct of Millau (picture is below again).

When I decided to search for a PhD project, I didn't have any firm idea about the topic, but I was sure that it had to do something with bridges. This is how I found Truss and my topic that you can read in the title of this blog.
And now I want to show you why bridges are so extraordinary, beautiful and unique structures and why you should definitely come to visit Budapest someday. :)

The Chain Bridge aka Széchenyi Lánchíd; probably the most famous bridge of Budapest. It is a suspension bridge with chains that makes it special (at least nowadays). It is also famous for its lions that lie on the abutments and about which there is also a legend. The sculptor (Marschalkó János) had promised if anyone would find any error in the lions he would jump off from the bridge. Apparently the lions have no tongue (or at least you can't see them from the level of the pavement...) and so he jumped (but survived) or he didn't jump, who knows? I decided not to upload any night picture, because it is something you should see with you own eyes :)
The Elisabeth bridge aka Erzsébet híd. Personally one of my favourite bridges partly for the reasons I mentioned above :) The bridge that stood here before was a chain bridge (with the longest span in the world that time), but when rebuilding it after it had been bombed ( just like all the other bridges of Budapest...), by our German allies at the end of WWII during their withdrawal, it was decided to build a cable suspension bridge. The new bridge was also used to serve tram transportation, but after some fatigue problem evolved, it was stopped. And yes, I've been to the top of its pylon :)
And so here is my favourite bridge of Budapest: the Liberty bridge aka Szabadság híd (former Ferencz József híd). No, it's not a suspension bridge. I want to make it clear for now and for ever :P It is a truss bridge with cantilevers and a suspended middle span (Gerber tartó). I dare to say the most beautiful one of its kind in the world (you can argue of course, just don't expect to convince me :))
This is our newest Danube bridge in Budapest. It's called Megyeri bridge (although it was almost named after Stephen Colbert :D) and it serves as the north connection for the M0 orbital motorway of Budapest since 2008. It is our only cable-stayed Danube bridge (actually it consists of different parts but the cable-stayed one is the most spectacular one of course). Finally we have basically all kind of bridge structures in our city :)

As I promised here is the Millau viaduct, which isn't in Budapest of course, but which is beautiful and unique :) Unfortunately my picture isn't the best but believe me, it's again something you have to see with your own eyes Just stunning! :)
 I'm sorry for leaving out some other bridges of Budapest, but you can find them (almost) all here. :) I let you digest the above presented beauties and hopefully see you in Budapest! ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment