How a cardboard bridge made of cardboard tubes has wowed visitors and got on well with its Roman neighbour nearby
If you’re familiar with the south of France, you will have come across Le Pont du Gard. It is an iconic aqueduct which straddles the Gardon River. The structure dates from 50 AD, which makes it 1,750 years older than Marple Aqueduct. In 2007, only a short distance away, Shigeru Ban (who you may remember from our cardboard church article) designed a cardboard bridge.
Mr. Ban’s cardboard bridge is made of 281 cardboard tubes. Each tube is 11.5cm across and 1.9cm thick. As the bridge can take the weight of 20 people, we think he would have used convolute core cardboard tubes. The steps are made from recycled paper and plastic. Its foundations are wooden boxes filled with sand. This YouTube clip below shows how Shigeru Ban’s bridge was constructed.
What has surprised many people about the cardboard bridge is its sturdiness. The bridge has been engineered in a way that is equal to metal in terms of strength. If you’ve seen how much weight our convolute cores can support, this may come as little surprise. For waterproofing, the cardboard has a protective coating.
In 2007, the cardboard bridge was open for six weeks, then dismantled ahead of the rainy season. Shigeru Ban’s project was designed to prove the doubters wrong on the strength of cardboard. As well as the Christchurch cardboard cathedral, his previous work has included the Curtain Wall House, erected in 1995.
We think Shigeru Ban is the King of the Cardboard Tube Engineers. They look good and are surprisingly sturdy structures. His website is well worth visiting.
Le Pont du Gard: the more illustrious neighbour to Shigeru Ban’s cardboard cousin. Image by Dorogotovtsev Andrey (via Shutterstock).