A touring exhibition celebrating the history of bridge design has just opened at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in Queens Square – and will include a debate on how the city views the River Avon running through it!
The exhibition will run through until January 15th and will be open from Monday to Saturday from 10am – 4pm.
More details about Thursday’s debate coming up later in this article.
Celebrating the completed restoration of Victoria Bridge and the planned replacement of the Destructor Bridge, B&NES Council is keen to inspire local residents and visitors about bridges and has invited the Architecture Centre in Bristol – who created the Desire Lines touring exhibition – to share their work in Bath.
The family friendly exhibition includes information about local and national bridges and has an interactive area for people to build their own bridges using a variety of engineering structures.
Cllr Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, is enthusiastic about the exhibition. He said: ‘We hope that some of our young visitors will be really inspired by the exhibition and may even consider further study, becoming the ‘beautifully inventive’ engineers of the future.”
There are three build-your-own bridge kits designed and produced by Bristol-based model makers Amalgam, that demonstrate how the components of arch, truss and cable structures can be assembled to produce six different bridge designs. In addition, the family activity area will encourage young and old to design their own bridge in a “Top Trumps” style – strong and sturdy or fantastically beautiful – for entry into a competition to find the potential bridge builders of the future.
The final set of Top Trump images will be exhibited during April with a chance to vote on your favourites. Schools are also invited to participate in the Top Trumps challenge and a pack of information can be sent to help teachers to inspire creative bridge design discussions. There will also be a free family fun day on Saturday January 17, where architecture students and experts will help visitors to build bridge models to take home.
Included in the exhibition are films of the reconstruction of Victoria Bridge and some footage of specially commissioned interviews with key engineers and architects discussing bridge design and their own personal inspirations and careers.
The exhibition uses images, drawings and models to describe 5 contemporary bridges: Poole Harbour Second Crossing, Dorset (2013); Scale Lane Bridge, Hull (2013); Queensferry Replacement Crossing (completion 2016); Taunton Third Way Bridge, Somerset (2011); and Spinningfields Footbridge, Manchester (2011). Running alongside the celebration of contemporary bridge design is the history of the Victoria Bridge, its fall into decline and recent restoration in a series of panels by the historian Adrian Andrews.
During the exhibition period at BRLSI, on the evening of Thursday January 15, the Architecture Club Frome will be hosting a panel debate focused on the River Avon. The debate is open to all and tickets are available via Eventbrite http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/river-avon-asset-or-liability-tickets-14413676695 .
Meanwhile it is good to see Bath’s historic Victoria Suspension Bridge is once more fully open after a lengthy and extensive refit – costing several millions.
They have done a superb job and secured its future as a vital pedestrian and cycle link across the River Avon.
The bridge also serves as an historical connection to a former factory-covered riverside now being transformed into luxury residential homes.
It is – with nearby Green Park Station and the Stothert and Pitt crane – the only bit of industrial heritage in this area
However, something seems to be happening to some of the flexible tiles that have been laid on the surface of the new walkway.
They are lifting in places. Is this going to become a big issue?