Tuesday, September 16, 2014

DAILY INSPIRATION: Forth Bridge - Scotland

Finished 1890

Some images I come across are just too awe-inspiring to not investigate further. Yes, typically they're motorcycle or design related, however the image below struck me in another way. Behold Scotland's Forth Bridge:

I think as humans we all have an innate fascination with colossal objects, whether naturally evolved or human made. Equally important to the object itself in sheer awe-factor is it's environment. It's the reason seeing the Monument Valley "mittens" against a barren dessert makes you reevaluate your life priorities and the Sears Tower amongst slightly shorter buildings looks like a dick measuring contest. The world of concept art is founded on that internal feeling of being stunned by something that's far outside your normal image bank and is the reason so many people are enamored by it. For me, the above image was most inspiring for just those reasons; design and environment. The truss-work of the bridge looks like someone gave Confederate a Ducati Trellis frame and told them to multiply by Tim Allen. The design was clearly in response to the engineer behind one of the earlier proposals for this project having a previous bridge of his COLLAPSE while a train was using it for it's intended purpose, killing all 75 passengers on board. All this just 4 years before construction on the Forth bridge was to begin. 
The plot thickened and my interest grew. 

Oh I get it. Yea that should work.
Above, new bridge designers Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker reveal the magicery behind what will become the world's longest single cantilevered bridge span - gigantic men with heavy beards will hold it up by sitting on it. Makes sense. The blueprint behind them must have been drawn before Bouch's Tay Bridge collapsed because by my calculations the Forth bridge got at least 350% more supports. Adding all those supports was no small feat and the bridge would take a total of 7 years to construct. 63 men died during the construction and a log book of accidents and sickness recorded over 26,000 entries. In summation the bridge that was designed to collapse less took 12 fewer lives. 
What really sparked my interest beyond the horrifying background story of the Forth bridge was the early black and white construction photos. If I may bring this runaway passenger train (punpunpun) full circle, it's these historic photos that trigger that same allure that concept art does. It's the monolithic structure being erected seemingly far outside it's destined time period that is so captivating.
It's real life concept art. 

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