Literature Appetizer: How to Read Bridges by Edward Denison and Ian Stewart

In Literature Appetizer, Ben gives you just a taste of a book. Not meant to replace the full meal, this is meant to whet your appetite. Bon appetit!

One of the main reasons I picked this year to study architecture is because of the City of Bridges: Pittsburgh. While most cities around the globe have them, Pittsburgh has the most at over 400! With this book I wanted to, as the title says, understand more about these amazing structure.

But I can't lie, even though it doesn't have too much "architecture jargon," this book is quite dry. Short, but dry. While there were plenty of cool tidbits, one made me look at bridges in an entirely different light.

Concrete Example pg 31

Concrete Example pg 31

I never think of concrete being bent. I think of wood and plastic that way, but not concrete. So when I drive along a bridge, what keeps it from bending? Like the incredible hulk, what if it is "always bending?"

As the illustration shows, if we just poured the concrete normally and then drove over it, the middle would be stressed, causing a weak point.

But if we mold it in a prestressed way, then when it is under the most stress (cars driving over it), the bridge is at its strongest.

What little design features do you notice in your daily commute?