It seems that in the construction business there are no projects more challenging than those of bridge building. These constructions traverse natural obstacles, connect parts of the town, often parts of the whole country.
Bridges provide a safe passage across the river or other inaccessible terrain. Unlike other infrastructural projects, they are free to use for the whole population, enabling them to appreciate their importance and functionality.
Bridges often become the landmarks of the towns, and lighting has a primary role in obtaining functional and esthetical character.
Bridges which carry the title ‘the prettiest bridges of the world’ for a reason
In the last decade, unique solutions of lighting for bridges have become a trend, not only for safety in traffic, but for their appealing looks.
Lighting enables turning a useful construction, such as a bridge, into a real attraction, able to make panorama and everyday life of the inhabitants more pleasing. The bridges that become the symbol of the town can also draw many tourists.
Some of the world’s prettiest bridgest often use modern multifunctional LED luminaires, both for their energy efficiency and for outlining the beauty of the construction in the desired way.
We have gathered some of the world’s prettiest bridges which in their project solutions and esthetical qualities have set high standards, while becoming the real landmarks of their towns.
Helix bridge in Singapore
The unique structure of the Helix bridge, which is the reason for its common name ‘DNA bridge’, raised great attention of the public when inaugurated in 2010, given it was the first curved bridge in the world. This is a pedestrian bridge, 280m long, a real tourist attraction.
At night, the Helix bridge is illuminated with a string of luminaires outlining its double spiral structure, creating an unusual visual effect.
Considering that the construction was inspired by the DNA structure, it was necessary for lighting to outline diverse shapes and curves, and contribute to the overall bridge design in an effective way. With this aim, the spiral bridge structures have a sequence of LED luminaires with dynamic light colours.
The lighting towards the outer part stresses the original structural curves, while other discrete line of luminaires lights up the interior part of the eaves made of glass and steel grid, in order to create a dynamic light membrane.
Charl’s bridge in Prague
Charle’s bridge is a stone bridge crossing the Vltava river and connecting the historical town with the new part of Checkia’s capital. It’s 621 m long and almost 10 m wide.
This is the oldest preserved bridge in Prague, built in 1357. It had to wait for several centuries to get the electricity based lighting.
This is one of the biggest cultural attractions of Prague, so there is a special attention around its visual identity, lighting included, in order to preserve the authentic design going back seven centuries.
Brooklyn Bridge in New York
The famous Brooklyn bridge connects the parts of the town called Manhattan and Brooklyn, across the East River, and is 486.3 m long. The building of the bridge was initiated in 1869, while it was inaugurated 14 years later.
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most visited free attractions in the Big Apple, with especially appealing wide pedestrian path open for walkers and cyclists in the middle, above the car lane.
Every steel rope has one sequence of LED luminaires providing magnificent lighting. Undoubtedly, this is one of those world bridges where lighting provides a special esthetical aspect. This is confirmed by its nickname: the light collar, referring to the specifically positioned LED luminaires.
Sidney Arch Bridge
Sidney Arch bridge is the tallest steel bridge in the world, with total height from the sea level to the tallest spot of 134 m. It is situated in a beautiful port, and has so far become the internationally recognized Australian symbol of Australia. Its total length, including the access roads to the bridge is 1149 m, while the diameter of the arch is 503 m.
The bridge has the nickname “The Coathanger” due to its arched design. Sidney bridge is also impressive for its particular lighting design, with efficient LED luminaires creating a kind of light spectacle.
This bridge has become the centerpiece of the event Vivid Sidney: world class light festival, visited annually by more than half a million people. During this occasion, it is illuminated with over 100.000 LED lumianires with integrated software and interface, enabling the change of colours upon visitors’ wish.
London Tower Bridge
“The Tower Bridge” was built in 1894 across the Themes to facilitate road traffic and crossing from one to the other river side.
It consists of multiple mobile paths, lifted for passing boats and is still considered an engineering miracle and one of the most compelling London symbols.
In 2019, Great Britain has initiated a big project, Illuminated River, with the aim to illuminate all London bridges with modern LED lighting. The idea of the designers is to illuminate with warm white light the two stone towers, at the moment illuminated only on the western and eastern sides, and visually connect them with the London Tower.
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
When inaugurated in 1937, Golden Gate was the biggest suspension bridge in the world, 2.737 m long. It has since been one of the most memorable symbols of San Francisco and one of the most recognizable symbols of the USA.
It goes across the bay of the same name, connecting San Francisco and Marin county.
San Francisco Bridge, as it is also called, is often an inspiration to the photographers, writers and directors, so we have numerous opportunities to see it in many big screen and TV shows, making him one of the sites with most pictures taken.
The consultant- architect Morrow, in the report about the bridge lighting, pointed out the idea that it should not be illuminated with the same intensity at the whole length, since this would aesthetically jeopardize the entire project. He presented the idea to have lower intensity on the top of the towers, so we would have the visual effect they disappear in height. In 1987, after more than 50 years, budgeting was provided and Morrow’s original idea for this bridge was implemented.
Significance of LED lighting for bridge illumination
LED luminaires are considered the most suitable option for outdoor/ public lighting. The significance of LED lighting for bridge illumination is that it emphasises the visual aspects of the bridges, which are considered as artwork most of the times.
Some of the advantages of LED lighting compared to other technologies are that they offer high lighting quality with low level of aging over time, and significant energy savings.
LED luminaires on the bridges have many functions making them a better option than any other type of lighting. LED technology is an excellent way to reduce the costs and helps improve the esthetical impressions of the bridge, with light colour control.
At company BUCK we nourish a holistic approach to lighting, implying giving appropriate attention to the function as well as the esthetics.
Žeželj bridge in Novi Sad
One of the prettiest Serbian bridges is rail- road bridge on the Danube, connecting Novi Sad and Petrovaradin. It is 474 m long and is a part of international rail from Belgrade to Budapest.
In 2017, our company designed and supplied the lighting solution for functional and decorative illumination of this bridge.
Installation of street luminaires with LED technology has lead to annual savings of 30.000kWh. Next to energy efficiency, the advantage of this modern solution are low maintenance costs, since the lifecycle of LED sources is up to five times that of conventional ones.
The citizens of Novi Sad and others crossing Zezelj bridge now have a safe and comfortable transport to the other side of the Danube, discernible in the night landscape.