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Curls Itself into a Ball

 - Mar 8, 2007   Updated: Mar 31 2011
References: heatherwick & blog.wired
This bridge looks like an ordinary outdoor sculpture, but actually it is a hydraulic bridge that can uncurl itself for incoming boat traffic. This is one of many projects by Thomas Heatherwick, who BBC refers to as the new Leonardo da Vinci.

The 12-meter bridge is made of steel and timber; hydraulic rams in the handrails between the bridge's eight sections help it to curl and unfold.

Implications - Bridges are instantly recognizable fixtures in a city's landscape, and many are international landmarks; unfortunately, many bridges haven't received a design update for decades. Innovative modern bridges that coil and unfurl to accommodate boat traffic keep waterways efficient without becoming eyesores or interfering with the cityscape.