Japanese architect designs paper bridge

29th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

PONT DU GARD, France, July 29, 2007 (AFP) - Japanese architect Shigeru Ban -- iconic for his use of eco-friendly, lightweight materials -- on Friday lifted the veil on a paper bridge over the Gardon River in southern France.

PONT DU GARD, France, July 29, 2007 (AFP) - Japanese architect Shigeru Ban -- iconic for his use of eco-friendly, lightweight materials -- on Friday lifted the veil on a paper bridge over the Gardon River in southern France.

Built half a mile from the Pont du Gard -- a section of ancient Roman bridge classed as a UN World Heritage site -- Shigeru's cardboard-tube structure is strong enough to carry 20 people at a time.

Reaching over the water to a sandy islet mid-river, it opens to the public for six weeks starting on Monday, before it is dismantled for the rainy season.

"It is a very interesting contrast, the Roman stone bridge and the paper bridge. Paper too can be permanent, can be strong and lasting. We need to get rid of these prejudices," Ban said.

"A bridge was one of my dreams," he said, as he thanked the two dozen French architecture students and three from Japan who built the bridge as a month-long project.

Weighing 7.5 tonnes, the bridge is made from 281 cardboard tubes, each 11.5 centimetres (four inches) across and 11.9 millimetres thick. The steps are recycled paper and plastic and the foundations wooden boxes packed with sand.

Balloons filled with 1.5 tonnes of water were used to test its resistance, said Ban's assistant Marc Ferrand.

Born in 1957 in Tokyo, Ban made a name by designing cardboard shelters for use by earthquake victims in Japan, Turkey and India and by refugees following the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

In France he co-designed a new Pompidou modern art museum in the eastern city of Metz, a mixed-medium structure of wood, steel and glass set to open in 2008.


AFP

Subject: French news

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