Barry Greenlaw Speaks: On Bridges

April 18, 2018

I have always been fascinated with bridges. On my first visit to New York, as a young boy, I was far more impressed with crossing the George Washington Bridge, than visiting the Statue of Liberty, or the top of the Empire State Building.

Many cities are defined by their bridges – who can think of London  without London Bridge, or Tower Bridge; Sydney without its Harbor Bridge; Prague without Charles Bridge? Sailing out of New York Harbor beneath the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, or into San Francisco beneath the magnificent Golden Gate, defines the whole concept of departure and arrival.

This class will be roughly organized in a chronological manner from the earliest, primitive stone and timber crossings, to the magnificent modern engineering marvels of today. We will spend significant time with the first great bridge builders, the Romans, who linked their widespread Empire together with their bridges.

Bridges of the Middle Ages reflected the progress of architectural styles.
We will see how the development of the Gothic arch which allowed
cathedrals to be built higher, allowed bridges to be built stronger and

The 18th century was the first to utilize the new developments of the
Industrial Revolution, with the use of iron and then steel dramatically
improving the strength and utility of bridges. The adoption of the
ancient suspension system, utilizing these new materials, enabled
spans, higher clearances, and extraordinary beauty. The 19th century witnessed
a great period of bridge engineering in both Europe and America.

And today, we are in the midst of an explosion of new construction,
based mainly on the cable-stay system which has produced some of the
most magnificent bridges ever built.

Greenlaw’s 2 week/4 session class takes place on June 11, June 13, June 18, and June 20 at 10:00 a.m. For more information, or to register, click here.