If you’re planning a trip to Shanghai anytime soon, you may have the opportunity to feast your eyes—and your feet—on the world’s longest 3D-printed bridge. The 86-foot bridge is made of concrete and stretches over a canal in the Baoshan District.
The bridge, which is made of concrete, was a collaborative design between the Shanghai Wisdom Bay Investment Management Company and the Tsinghua University School of Architecture’s Zoina Land Joint Research Center for Digital Architecture (whew, a true mouthful), according to Dezeen.
The pedestrian bridge is nearly eight feet wide and while it looks quite modern, it’s inspiration comes from the oldest bridge in China: the Anji Bridge in Zhaoxian, which has been around for more than 1,400 years.
The bridge really deserves a close look, where you can fully appreciate the texture of the many units that went into making the structure. All in all, the design is made from 176 concrete parts that took a total of 450 hours to come together… with some help from two robotic-arm 3D printers.
The inner workings of the bridge are actually quite complex. Not all of the 176 concrete units were designed in the same way. Dezeen reports that there were 44 hollow units, but that the foot deck is made of “brain coral” pavement units that contain white pebbles—assumedly for easier walking. The handrails are made from yet another concrete unit design. There’s a lot to appreciate with this record-breaking bridge.
And not only is it an attraction, but the designers are also using it as an opportunity to learn how to concrete breaks down over time by installing a set of surveillance cameras on site. This will help them better inform 3D-printed design in the future.