Record-breaking glass bridge designed to “disappear into the clouds”
Credit: Haim Dotan Ltd. Architects and Urban Designers
Ethereal, breathtaking, and mind-blowing are just a few of the most popular terms used to describe China's Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. But its soaring sandstone pillars and miles of lush vegetation are also why, when first approached about a bridge spanning one of it's largest canyons, renowned Israeli architect Haim Dotan wanted nothing to do with it.
“I believe in nature, harmony, balance and beauty. Nature is beautiful as is," said Dotan, who only after learning of the developer's willingness to embrace his vision, eventually signed onto the project. “I told him, we can build a bridge under one condition. I want the bridge to disappear."
And now, almost three years later, when the morning mist is just right, the Zhangjiajie bridge is poised to do just that.
Spanning over 1400 feet and suspended 980 feet above ground, the record breaking, knee-shaking and almost entirely glass bridge is about to celebrate it's grand opening.
Material wise, white steel was used as minimally as possible, comprising only the two side beams, handrails, and stay cables. The remaining majority of the bridge is made of triple-layered ultra strong glass, reportedly 25 times stronger than the glass in the windows of your home, yet terrifyingly, less than an inch thick.
Despite its apparent wispy construction, Dotan claims the bridge can withstand winds up to 100 mph, as well as earthquakes and frost.
And for you “believe it when I see it" types, the BBC's Dan Simmons was recently invited to test the bridge's strength with a sledgehammer.
Pending no delays, the bridge is set to open in late July. And don't worry, if it's mere existence wasn't intimidating enough for you, the glass bottom beast will soon also be home to the world's highest bungee jump and rope swing platforms.