Do Architects Design Bridges? (Explained)

Architects are intelligent, creative individuals who work hard on amazing designs and structures every single year around the world.

However, no architect works alone.

Sure, designing the building might be a solo-gig at first. Still, once the architect gets into the specifics of the project, including the actual requirements for the building, then a team of engineers, construction companies, financial planners, and the clients and their representatives work together to get the job done.

Bridges, especially, require more than just an architect to be complete.

Here’s the Short Answer for How Architects Design Bridges:

Architects must work together with engineers to properly design and dictate the structure of a bridge project. The architect will design and come up with concept art for the client, and the engineer adapts their design to the actual construction project.

Are Bridges Considered Architecture?

Bridges are technically considered to be “infrastructure” instead of “architecture.”

To get a better idea of the differences between infrastructure and architecture, check out our article, Do Architects Design Roads? (Explained!)

The infrastructure of a city is the backbone of how society functions.



Most infrastructure includes:

  • Roads
  • Water & Sewage Systems
  • Electrical Systems
  • Bridges
  • Transportation & Communication Systems

While architects do help in the design of the bridge, how it looks and how it could function, the actual planning and building of infrastructure come down to the engineers, city planners, and construction companies that implement them.

This means that most architecture would include:

  • Office Buildings
  • Houses
  • Libraries
  • Hospitals
  • Museums
  • Restaurants

There are so many things that could be considered architecture that would fall under the architect’s purview for design and construction.

These usually include the buildings and places that we use or go to every day.

Infrastructure gets us there and allows those buildings to function, whether through electrical and water systems, or simply driving down the street.

Do Engineers Design Bridges?

The building of infrastructure and architectural monuments and buildings that you see in your town or city is usually done with the combined responsibilities of both architects and engineers.

That being said, the creative design and concept art of bridges is usually done by architects. Architects design and then present their designs to clients and representatives who approve or disapprove of the design.

Once the design is finalized, engineers and other team members begin work on the actual planning, construction, and implementation of the design set down by the architect.

Architects will work closely with engineers during the building project if they are included in the supervising team.

Do Architects Actually Build Or Only Design? Check out our article for more information!

How Many Bridges are Built Worldwide Per Year?

This question is almost impossible to answer, and here is why:

In the United States, there are roughly 600,000 bridges alone. This is not including the different categories of what constitutes a “bridge” because some are considered to be a “viaduct” and not a bridge at all.

Furthermore, most bridges only last about 50 years and need constant upkeep and attention.

Therefore, it is hard to properly calculate whether or not a new bridge is being constructed or an old one is getting remodeled.

Furthermore, it is challenging to find data and research on the actual number of worldwide bridges being built because there isn’t an actual number of how many bridges there are in the world.

It would require a lot of data and research to pinpoint exactly how many bridges there are in the entire world, and then do that research again to see just how many are being built on an annual basis.

It is safe to say, however, that thousands of bridges are being repaired or reconstructed every year.

Which Architect Companies Design Bridges?

There are a few firms around the world that have been and are building bridges.

The effort and time it takes to design a bridge require an experienced firm and a team of professionals who have been in the industry for a long time.

Most of these firms are in metropolitan places or big cities, like New York and London.

We’ve listed a few here:

  • S P F Architects – Los Angeles, California
  • WEST 8 – Rotterdam, New York
  • Foster and Partners – London, UK
  • BenedettiArchitects – UK
  • Raglan Squire & Partners – Singapore

Architecture companies that work on designing bridges have great employees, teams, and staff behind them.

They work hard not only to make something safe and functional but also beautiful, which fades into the city landscape, looking both modern and familiar.

Is it Realistic to Design Bridges as a Newly Educated Architect?

Becoming an architect takes a lot of time, effort, and education.

If you are thinking about becoming an architect, make sure you are prepared to do the work that it requires!

First, an architect must get an education, with both a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree in their field. Then they have to intern at a firm and finally earn their license and become certified wherever they are designing buildings.

It isn’t very realistic for a new architect to be in charge of their own projects, let alone design a bridge by themselves.

Once you become an architect, you have to work your way up. Be part of a team, learn the ropes, and understand what is expected of you.

Once you get to a point where you are leading your own projects, you could very well be designing the next big suspension bridge that wow’s everyone who sees it!

References:

Architects and Engineers: Working Together to Design Structures

15 Architecture firms designing Bridges around the world

Designing Bridges

How many bridges are there in the world?

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