Millau Bridge Photos, New Viaduct France, Architect, Norman Foster Architecture Design, Images

Millau Viaduct, France Bridge Design

French bridge design by Foster + Partners, London, UK: Architectural Photos

post updated 12 January 2022 ; 25 Apr 2010

Millau Bridge

Dates built: 1993-2004

Design: Foster + Partners, Architects

Millau Bridge France: Norman Foster Viaduct

Millau Bridge France Foster + Partners design
photos © Nick Weall

Millau Viaduct

The bridge not only has a dramatic silhouette, but crucially, it also makes the minimum intervention in the landscape. Lit at night, it traces a slender ribbon of light across the valley.

Milau Bridge Millau Bridge France

Millau Viaduct Design

Co-architects: Chapelet-Defol-Mousseigne

Millau Bridge images from Nick Weall

Milau Bridge Millau Viaduct France Millau Viaduct Millau Bridge Design
photos © Nick Weall

Bridges are often considered to belong to the realm of the engineer rather than that of the architect. But the architecture of infrastructure has a powerful impact on the environment and the Millau Viaduct, designed in close collaboration with structural engineers, illustrates how the architect can play an integral role in the design of bridges. It follows the Millennium Bridge over the River Thames, in expressing a fascination with the relationships between function, technology and aesthetics in a graceful structural form.

Milau Bridge Millau Bridge Photo Millau Viaduct Photo French viaduct design by Foster + Partners
photos © Nick Weall

Located in southern France, it connects the motorway networks of France and Spain, opening up a direct route from Paris to Barcelona. The bridge crosses the River Tarn, which runs through a spectacular gorge between two high plateaux.

Interestingly, alternative readings of the topography suggested two possible structural approaches: to celebrate the act of crossing the river or to articulate the challenge of spanning the 2.46 kilometres from one plateau to the other in the most economical manner. Although historically the river was the geological generator of the landscape, it is very narrow at this point, and so it was the second reading that suggested the most appropriate structural solution.

Millau Bridge Modern French viaduct design by Foster + Partners Architects French viaduct Foster + Partners design Millau Viaduct
photos © Nick Weall

A cable-stayed, masted structure, the bridge is delicate, transparent, has the optimum span between columns. Each of its sections spans 342 metres and its columns range in height from 75 metres to 245 metres (equivalent to the height of the Eiffel Tower), with the masts rising a further 90 metres above the road deck. To accommodate the expansion and contraction of the concrete deck, each column splits into two thinner, more flexible columns below the roadway, forming an A-frame above deck level.

The tapered form of the columns both expresses their structural loads and minimises their profile in elevation. The bridge not only has a dramatic silhouette, but crucially, it also makes the minimum intervention in the landscape. Lit at night, it traces a slender ribbon of light across the valley.

Milau Bridge Modern French viaduct design Millau Viaduct Modern viaduct design in France
photos © Nick Weall

Millau Viaduct – Bridge Information

Client: French Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Housing, Tourism and Sea

Consultants: EEG (Europe Etudes Gecti), Sogelerg, SERF, Agence TER, Michel Virlogeux

Milau Bridge Millau Bridge Millau Viaduct
photos © Nick Weall

Garabit Viaduct, France

Design: Eiffel

Milau Bridge
photograph © Nick Weall

Millau Bridge information from Foster + Partners Architects

Millau Bridge designer : Foster + Partners

Location: Millau, France, western Europe

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