RP 3

I have a friend whose college professor was fond of saying, “Anyone can make a bridge that doesn’t fall down, but only a civil engineer can make one that barely stays up!” The point he was making is that an important task of civil engineering is designing structures that are sturdy and safe without incurring unnecessary costs and wasting materials, often in ways that might not seem intuitive to those who don’t have an engineering background.

For example, if you were building a support column for a highway overpass, you might think the base needs to be the sturdiest part, but the planners of this construction project in Yokohama beg to differ.

A look through his posts shows that Twitter user Yokkiren is a bit of an infrastructure nut, as he regularly shares pictures of impressive or bizarre bits of urban design.

▼ How’d you like to have to decipher this list of exits while speeding along Tokyo’s C2 expressway?

But even the experienced Yokkiren was shocked when he came across this while wandering around the city of Yokohama.

“This is going to be a pier for an upcoming expressway,” he explained, referring to an architectural support column, and not a bridge that juts out into the ocean. “But it looks like part of a giant robot. It’s like modern civil engineers have bent gravity to their will.”

While the structure looks incredibly unstable, this thankfully isn’t a case of the project’s engineers trying out untested theories in a huge, and potentially deadly, manner. As pointed out by Twitter user TcodeF, this sort of thing has been done before. There’s even a name for this kind of structure, racket-shaped pier, that references how the narrow base and empty ring resemble a tennis racket.

▼ A row of completed racket-shaped piers, miraculously (or more, accurately, scientifically) holding up two roads.

RP 2

Still, if residents of Yokohama decide they want to give the construction site a wide berth until the whole thing is done, we won’t blame them.

Source: Togech
Top image: Twitter
Insert image: Nifty