April 29, 2009

Philippine Colonial Bridges I

The early history of bridge building in the country is attributed to both the Spanish missionaries and conquistadors, who along with their task of converting, pacifying and subjugating souls were also responsible for building communities.

Puente de Isabel II (Province of Cavite)
The bridge was built by Brother Matias Carbonell OSRA in 1857 and situated along Calle Liko and spans the Rio de Imus linking the town of Imus to Bacoor.

Puente Dampol (Province of Nueva Vizcaya)
The bridge was built by the Spanish conquistadors in 1739 and situated in the southernmost portion of the Cagayan Valley.

Puente de Barit (Province of locos Norte)
The bridge is situated along the Laoag-Bacarra Nacional Road. Nothing much is known about its heritage, but it is a beautiful piece of civic infrastructure that serves as a very important link to towns of north of Laoag.

Puente de Blanco (Binondo)
The bridge is also known as Puente de Binondo, built in 1796. The bridges traverses Calle San Fernando linking Plaza Calderon de la Barca now known as Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz to San Nicholas district. The Maestro de obras was Policarpio Faxardo with Phelipe de Mesa as sobrestante or foreman.

Puente de Malagonlong (Province of Quezon)
It is the most spectacular bridge from the Spanish Colonial era. The construction was started in 1841 and finished in 1850. It links Tayabas with the coastal town of Pagbilao, then an important link to the coast.

Puente del Fuerza Santiago (Intramuros)
The construction of the bridge started in 1591 and was completed in 1634 under the direction of Leonardo Iturrino. The bridge was built west of the gate leading to Fuerza Santiago. Today both the moat and the bridge have been fully restored to give visitors a partial glimpse of the history of Fuerza Santiago.

Puente de Mabacao (Maragondon)
The date of construction and the name of the builders remains unknown. It spans a rather wide gorge and is supported by three masonry piers resting on solid rocks.

Puente de Busay (Province of Albay)
The bridge is located along the Guinobatan-Camalig national road which straddles the border of the two towns overlooking either the majestic Mount Mayon on its eastern side or the spectaculars Busay Waterfalls.

Stamp Issue: 2007-05-16

April 27, 2009

Architecture of the Dong Nationality

Dong Nationality, a minority nationality in southwest China, has a population of about 2.5 million who mainly inhabit Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi provinces and autonomous region. The Dong people are not only good at singing and dancing, but also experts in knitting and building.

The drum towers are in the shape of a wood pagoda. Without a single nail or rivet, the towers could be three-to ten-storey high. The tower is spacious inside and has wood rails circling each floor. There is a calabash or crane on the top of the tower symbolizing auspiciousness and peace. The delicately wrought protruding eaves look as if to fly and leap. The square in front of, and the stage connected with the tower are the centre of celebration activities.

Wind and Rain Bridge, also called flower bridge, is another unique building of Dong people. As the weather in the region is changeable, Dong people build corridors on the bridges so passers-by could take shelter from the sun, wind and rain or take a rest. So the bridge is called wind and rain bridge. On the corridor and eaves of pavilions are carved with paintings featuring coloured and vivid figures, mountains and rivers, patterns and animal, displaying the Dong's national characteristics as well as their diligence and wisdom. Wind and rain bridges are the art treasures of Chinese wood architecture.

Stamp Issue: 1997-06-02

April 26, 2009

Architecture of Ancient China: Bridges

Zhaozhou Bridge also known as Anchi Bridge is the world's oldest open-spandrel stone segmental arch bridge cross the Jiao River, about 50 m long with a central span of 37.37 m. It stands 7.3 m tall and has a width of 9 m. Credited to the design of a craftsman named Li Chun, the bridge was constructed in the years 595-605 during the Sui Dynasty (581–618). Located in the southern part of Hebei Province, it is the oldest standing bridge in China. In the next 1400 years, the bridge survived at least eight wars, ten major floods and numerous earthquakes, the nearest of which being the 7.2 degree Xingtai Earthquake in 1966. Yet, the support structure remains intact and the bridge is still in use. Only the ornamental railings have been replaced every few hundred years.

Precious Belt Bridge is a Chinese stone arch bridge located near the city of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The Precious Belt Bridge is located at the intersection of the Grand Canal and Dantai Lake, about 2.5 kilometer south east of Suzhou. The first construction of the bridge dates back to the year 816 AD, during the mid Tang Dynasty. The bridge's span is 317 m long and has a width of 4.1 m, with a total of 53 arches in its span. The three central arches are enlarged to allow for the passage of - by historical standards - larger river vessels without masts. The average span of each arch is 4.6 m.

Anlan Bridge is suspension bridge with Rope made from bamboo, crosses the Minjiang River bestriding the water of the Inner Canal and Outer Canal to connect Erwang Temple with the Dujiangyan Irrigation System.Anlan Bridge is 261 meters long. It is supported by wooden pegs and stone piers. The bridge crosses the river by using bamboo ropes. The bridge is secured by bamboo ropes on two sides, in length of which are about 500 meters each. When the bridge was restored, steel ropes were used instead of bamboo ropes. The wooden pegs which supported the cable were changed to ferroconcrete pegs, and the length of the bridge become 240 meters.

Chengyang Bridge also known as Yongji Bridge or Panlong Bridge, spans the Linxi River of Sanjiang County. Built in 1916, it is 64.4 meters long, 3.4 meters wide and 10.6 meters high. Constructed with wood and stones, the surface of the bridge is paved with wooden boards and both sides are inlayed with railings. On the bridge itself, there are five tower-like kiosks with 'horns' and eaves which resemble the flapping wings of birds. It is the best one among the wind and rain bridges in Dong stockade villages. At present, it is the largest wind and rain bridge also it is the crystal of Dong people's wisdom; it is one of the artistic precious things of Chinese wood architecture.

Stamp Issue: 1962-05-15

April 25, 2009

Interchanges in Beijing

Interchanges are multi-layer flyovers that have been built over the past several decades. With interchanges. Vehicles and pedestrians from all directions can cross each other by their own way without waiting for traffic light.

Interchanges generally fall into two categories, the simple flyovers and complicated interchanges. The former can only ensure the cross of vehicle at both the upper and lower layers, while the latter can guarantee the cross of vehicles at various layers and thus need more slip roads and occupy more land.

Interchanges have been developing rapidly over the past several decades since they can prevent vehicles from reducing speed and starting again at crossings and bring about considerable social-economic gains. China started to vigorously develop interchanges in mid-1970s. The first interchange in Beijing is the Fuxingmen Interchange which was built in 1974. Today, there are several hundreds of interchanges along the second, third and fourth ring roads of the city. In terms of architectural structure, the interchanges, with two to four layers, include simply flyovers and those in the shape of cloverleaf and butterfly, with H-and Y-type and single-column bridge piers.

At present, the largest interchange in China is the Siyuan Interchange in Beijing. It is a four-layer large interchange composed of 26 bridges, with the span between the single-column bridge piers being the largest in interchanges of the country. The bridges of the Siyuan Interchange, which covers 400,000 square meters of land, have a total length of 2.8 kilometers and a total area of 40,000 square meters.

Stamp Issue: 1995-06-20