The Beauty of Bridges - Matthew Stewart (Civil Engineering Student)


The Clyde Arc at Night

Hi, my name is Matthew and I’m a 4th year Civil Engineering student at the University of Strathclyde.

When people think of what Civil Engineering actually is, they usually imagine that it is all about designing and constructing types of infrastructure such as roads and railways which to some may seem fairly innocuous and not creative at all. Although designing these types of structures are a part of the Civil Engineering industry, there are a wide variety of different project types where you can interlink maths and creativity to come up with a design which is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. In my opinion, the project type which can clearly illustrate best the link between creativity and maths, is bridges.


A close to home example of a bridge which illustrates a blend of maths, creativity and engineering is The Clyde Arc, also commonly known as ‘The Squinty Bridge’ due to its unique design which is located in Glasgow city centre.


The bridge is an extremely well-known example of mixing maths with beauty creativity and has been a standout in the Glasgow skyline since its opening in 2006. The project as a whole, had an overall construction cost of £20.3 million. The bridge crosses the River Clyde in Glasgow city centre and has a span of 93m. It is such a well-known bridge as a result of its innovative and creative design, with its unique ‘arc’ shape and the fact that it crosses the river at an angle as opposed to going straight across. This bridge is a prime example of how both Civil Engineering and creativity can be linked together, as the bridge is both fully functional whist still having a unique and creative look which adds to the overall aesthetic of the local area.


Fundamentally, Civil Engineers use maths and problem solving skills in order to allow these projects to stand and not collapse whilst trying to maintain their creative look.