The Bridge150 Festival, run by the Architecture Centre in Bristol, is an inspirational festival of bridge design and construction – celebrating the ingenuity and innovation behind some of today’s most fascinating structures. Supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious grant scheme, the festival celebrates the run up to the 150th anniversary of Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge (pictured). Structural engineers are working with the Architecture Centre team to co-curate the festival, sharing their passion, creativity and expertise and inspiring the Brunels of tomorrow.
The festival was launched in July at the 2014 Bristol Harbour Festival. Over one weekend, in the family zone of the festival, hundreds of visitors of all ages designed and built their own model bridges to span a ‘river’ created from scrap materials. Engineers from local universities and firms, including WSP, led audiences in bridge-construction activities. From intergalactic suspension bridges to neon arch bridges made of pipe cleaners, everyone got a chance to get ‘hands-on’ and become enthused by the wonder of bridge engineering.
With 150 days of festival celebrations, there are still many events to come. The Bridge: Spanning Art and Science will be a major new exhibition opening at the start of October, featuring engineering insights into six contemporary bridges designed by British engineers and personal stories behind some of today’s most innovative structures. Model makers Amalgam will also be creating a bespoke interactive family element for the exhibition.
Themed walks, a ferry tour, family activities and a debate looking at the roles of engineers vs architects are also part of the programme of festival events, which includes guest speakers such as Alan Baxter, Ian Firth, Jim Eyre and Martin Knight. As part of the celebrations, the Architecture Centre has also been reaching out online. Followers of the Architecture Centre’s twitter feed, @ArchCentre, have been treated to a ‘bridge-a-day’ thanks to a daily tweet which will profile 150 different engineered crossings.
|The festival was made possible thanks to funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s public engagement grant scheme, Ingenious, which supports projects that engage the public with engineering and engineers. The Ingenious grant scheme is currently open for applications for new projects and more information can be found at www.raeng.org.uk/ingenious.|