Architecture covers both the process and design that results from planning, designing and constructing buildings and other physical structures. Architecture also represents past civilizations with the symbols that remain thousands of years later, like the colosseum in Rome or the columns in Greece (my niece in Greece this summer).
The Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME re-opened after extensive renovations recently. Strolling across the bridge was a new experience, as they added a walkway during the renovations. It took me a while to realize that when you look at a bridge, you are able to see how it's built. This is very different than our houses, where the finishes (siding outside and drywall inside) on a house, hides the framing that defines the house and holds it all together.
Watch the final Memorial Bridge span float into place … from WMUR.
Walking Over the Bridge – Views Before Architecture
As we walked north from Portsmouth, I enjoyed the views from the bridge and started taking tourist type photos of others on the bridge and the wonderful views available from the bridge.
Portsmouth offers lots of condo living along the Piscataqua River, within easy walking distance of great restaurants and more.
As you walk across the bridge, you realize that Portsmouth is a working port with ships delivering all sorts of materials.
Architecture Challenges to Raise & Lower the Bridge
We know so little about how bridges work, although the architecture is amazing. Fortunately we still get excited when the lights start flashing, the bells start clanging and the barriers start lowering to keep us safe when the bridge is raised.
Watching this vertical lift bridge being raised is pretty amazing. You're standing over a river and suddenly a 300 foot section of roadway starts to raise up between the two towers.
While it's hard to see the missing roadway, there really is a big gap between the two towers. I missed a few of the boats going through as we walked north, so on the way back to our car …
I had to include at least one photo of a boat, in this case small enough to go under the bridge.
Bridge Architecture Uses the Strength of Triangles
One nice thing about walking across a bridge is you get to return the way you've come and look at different things. On our way back to Portsmouth, we started to look more closely at how the bridge was built and discovered … triangles!
Most sections are steel formed into triangles – curved steel and lots of bolts holding the sections of steel together.
Incredibly thick cables made of strands of steel woven together, are used when raising and lowering the bridge.
My favorite photo is the simplicity and strength of the steel triangles, which are the underlying architectural components making up the Memorial Bridge.