Building bridges

Here’s where i reveal my inner geek – not that you weren’t more than aware of it anyway!

i have a complete fascination with bridges – weird, i know,   but i suppose there’s worse things to be fascinated with.

Regular readers of the blog will know i have a thing about architecture anyway and this itself leads me somewhat inevitably back to bridges. Bring them on, i say… old ones, new ones; big ones, small ones; traditional or ground-breaking: i have time for them all. Maybe it’s the forms and strong architectural shapes, perhaps it’s the engineering and sheer cleverness of so many of them, perhaps it’s because bridges so often lend themselves to the picturesque and inspiring? – It can be any one of those reasons, or a combination, but for me there’s another, far more powerful concept behind bridges that i find quite inspirational.

You see, so very often it’s what a bridge represents that speaks to me – and that’s not necessarily a straightforward thing either: Bridges represent union – an attempt to span the divide; they are a physical representation of passing from one place to another… the past to the future, the known to the unknown; from the bridge we gain a whole new perspective on what passes beneath, behind and before us – in effect, we step out of the world and enter into a moment of transition. Bridges combine form with function and aesthetics with necessity.

Individual bridges too can be incredibly iconic and have their own fascinating stories – the bridge at Kanchanaburi over the Kwai, the Ponte dei Sospiri, the Tacoma Narrows bridge, the Stari Most at Mostar and Darby’s Ironbridge, to name just a few of my favourites, (told you i was a geek!). It’s this almost mythical power that bridges seem to hold – be it political, industrial, cultural or historical – that can give me goosebumps, so i suppose that it’s only natural that i should have a thing for bridges in sl too, and yes, my bridge fixation does extend into the virtual world!

You can pretty much guarantee that if i find a bridge in sl, it’s going to be an extended visit – don’t get me wrong, i don’t spend hours poring over search, desperately trying to locate these edifices, but if i see one, i’ll certainly check it out. SL has its fair share too – some are simple, everyday affairs, but often in the most splendid of locations, with stunning views and gorgeous surroundings. Then there are the flights of fantasy and the faithful reproductions of rl icons.

One of my favourite sl bridges can be found on the Beta Grid – it’s simply a breathtakingly simple and elegant structure.

i love the way it’s formed – a mixture of organic and geometric forms – and the unashamedly modern look, steel and concrete, somehow fits perfectly with the scope and scale of the structure – i love it!

It’s enigmatic too – a bridge that serves no purpose other than to be simply a bridge. It is completely out of context… surely a bridge must have a purpose? By it’s very nature, it’s designed to go from somewhere, to somewhere and yet, this particular bridge has no destination and no departure point – it serves no purpose, other than to be, and it is breathtaking. [Aditi: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Straits%20of%20Shermeville/197/111/48/].

My second bridge, in rl, served a very distinct purpose – it was the bridge that condemned prisoners crossed from the Venetian Doge’s Palace to the cells, where they would catch their last glimpse of the outside world, as they passed across. The faithful sl reproduction of Ponte dei Sospiri – the Bridge of Sighs – is just as atmospheric as the real thing, (although far less crowded!).

Such a small bridge to conjure up such profound feelings and emotions. Small is certainly not a term you would use to describe my next two bridges! Perhaps terms like solid, massive and awe inspiring might suffice instead. The Golden Gate Bridge is a stunning example of sl engineering, spanning two Sims. It is remarkable in its attention to detail and sheer brilliance of execution – it’s the sort of thing they’d tell you couldn’t be done and yet, there it is, in all its colossal grandeur… and you can even ride across it on horseback! (Yes, that is me, stood atop the north tower – well, you just have to!)

Which brings me to the gritty reality of the Brooklyn Bridge – familiar across the world from countless movies and TV dramas. The whole sim has a real vibe about it and the bridge itself is tucked away on the water’s edge; you don’t even realise it’s even there until you turn a corner, and there it is, impossible to ignore – fantastic!

i could go on for ages – that’s the trouble with geeks… once we start, you just can’t stop us! So, in the interests of brevity and your sanity, i’ll just mention a couple more out of the many examples i think are worth visiting in sl. i can’t not mention good old Tower Bridge – and if you’re a Doctor Who fan, you should get over there right now!

Finally, a bridge that you won’t find any more, although when the sim existed it was a quite beautiful and atmospheric setting that really deserved to be visited time and time again. The famous bridge in Monet’s Garden at Giverny was a faithful and inspiring reproduction – you really did feel you were walking through a painting! Sadly the Sim is no longer there and the only pictures i have are a bit rubbish and certainly don’t do it justice but it was such a wonderful place, i think it’s worth remembering.

i’ll stop wittering on about bridges now… but i won’t stop admiring, photographing and enjoying these great pieces of architecture wherever i come across them, sl or rl!

S. x

Yes, like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

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