Millau Viaduct, France (2004) designed by Norman Foster

angles and quadrilaterals 

triangles and bridges

  • We learned about Lord Norman Foster and the Millau Viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world, located in Millau, France. This bridge is the source of inspiration for our own bridges that students will design, construct—and destroy— later in the unit. Our designs and pictures of our completed bridges in turn will be sent to Foster + Partners in London, England for review by their own engineers, as we have done in the past. We learned that the Millau bridge is a cable-stayed bridge with multiple cables, unlike the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy which, lacking both robustness and redundant cables, catastrophically failed in the fall of 2018. The Morandi Bridge instead was supported by a single stay (cable) encased in concrete. This concrete encasement unfortunately prevented anyone from noticing any wear and tear in the cable itself. The single cable design, combined with the internal rotting of the cable over time by the salty sea air, contributed to the unforgiving collapse. The sad twist to this tragedy is that the cables on one set of stays were replaced entirely in the 1990s. The bridge section that was supported by these cables remained in tact on that fateful day. Puzzlingly, the second set of cable stays were not replaced at all. In the end, it is this second set that failed on August 14th.  43 people lost their lives.

transformations and tessellations