Record breaking LEGO bridge showcases engineering creativity

14 October 2016
A Guinness World Record-breaking 31 metre long suspension bridge made entirely out of LEGO is at the centre of a brand new exhibition in the heart of London.
Ramboll. ICE world record breaking longest single bridge span created out of LEGO bricks.

Ramboll. ICE world record breaking longest single bridge span created out of LEGO bricks.

Dan Harvey. Ramboll

Dan Harvey

Executive Director, UK Transport
T: +44 20 7631 5291
Peter Curran. Ramboll

Peter Curran

Spearhead Director, Major Crossings, UK
T: +44 7736 497 481

The exhibition, Bridge Engineering, celebrates the civil engineers who have created some of the world’s greatest bridges and opens its doors on 17th October at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Westminster for a six month period.

The vast LEGO structure, designed by world-renowned bridge engineer Robin Sham, demonstrates the complex challenge of creating such a vast suspension bridge using only the materials that you would find in a child’s LEGO toy box. The bridge stands at over three metres tall and spans over 30 metres, almost the equivalent of three London Routemaster buses parked end on end. It weighs three-quarters of a ton and is made up of over 200,000 individual plastic bricks.

Claire Gott MBE advised on the construction of the LEGO bridge commented “The construction was a fantastic opportunity to see civil engineering in action while using a material we all know and love.
“Bridges are normally built out of things like steel and concrete – engineers know nearly everything there is about those types of materials, and can predict their physical behaviours. As a construction material, we didn’t know much about the material properties of LEGO, so it was really exciting to see actual bridge engineers finding solutions to ensure this vast model suspension bridge remained upright.”

Bridge Engineering explains how bridges have transformed lives and gives an insight into the creative minds of the civil engineers who designed and delivered them. Made possible with the support of leading UK engineering and construction companies, of which, Ramboll is one, Bridge Engineering tells the human, social and engineering story of bridge building and demonstrates the value that infrastructure delivers to communities around the world. 

A hub to inspire the next generation

The exhibition guides visitors on a tour of past great structures such as Thomas Telford’s classic Menai Strait suspension bridge, modern masterpieces including the 50 year old Severn Bridge, and transformational structures of the future such as Scotland’s famous Queensferry Crossing. Bridge Engineering’s dedicated interactive zone allows visitors and children to become civil engineers for the day by constructing their own bridges. Bridge Engineering marks the start of a five-year programme of infrastructure-focussed exhibitions at ICE’s One Great George Street home in Westminster, London. The brand new industry-backed gallery in the Grade II listed library, christened the “Infrastructure Learning Hub”, is an interactive public space where the construction and engineering industry can tell engaging stories about how their work makes a positive difference to people’s lives.  The programme aims to wrap science and engineering together in a fun, informative way and to inspire the next generation of Brunels. 

Infrastructure that transforming lives

ICE President Sir John Armitt commented that civil engineers must continue making the case for infrastructure to the public: “This time last year, I called on our profession – civil engineers – to get better at talking about our creations. From bridges to roads, rail networks, to flood defences and clean running water facilities; we all use and benefit from infrastructure every day, consciously or not.
“We all share our infrastructure equally so it is vital that we the planners, designers, builders and operators demonstrate its invaluable contribution to civic life. Set in the international tourism spot of Parliament Square in Westminster, this exhibition space provides the built environment industry with the perfect stage to speak to the public – where we can tell the inspirational story of how infrastructure transforms people’s lives. Most important of all, it is a place for the public to explore the wonders of the built world around us.”

Dan Harvey, Ramboll Executive Director also commented “The exhibition provides great insight to the incredible achievements from engineers of the past and today. Every day we push the limits of what was previously believed impossible, to deliver solutions that benefit our society. It’s an engaging exhibition that anyone of any age would enjoy”.

Infrastructure Learning Hub supporters

The Infrastructure Learning hub is supported by CEMAR and Tony Gee and Partners LLP. It’s the first exhibition to christen the newly refurbished exhibition space. It is also supported by 11 Founding Partners: AECOM, Atkins, Carillion, Costain, John Laing, Kier, Mace Foundation, Mott MacDonald, Ramboll, VINCI Construction UK Ltd and WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Hub opening times

The exhibition is open from October 17th at The Institution of Civil Engineers, One Great George Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 3AA, Bridge Engineering will run Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 5pm until Spring 2017. More details of the exhibition.

More about the Guinness World Record

ICE broke the world record for the longest single bridge span created out of LEGO bricks, unaided by glue or structural supports. The previous record was a single span of 14 metres – ICE achieved a new record with a single span of 16.46 metres. The two connected side spans either end of the main give the bridge a total span of 31 metres.

 

Significant bridges

Queensferry Crossing  under construction

Queensferry Crossing

The Queensferry Crossing sits within a beautiful bridge-scape representing three centuries of bridge innovation. It is the UK’s tallest bridge and the world’s longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge.

The Mersey Gateway completed. Image courtesy of Merseylink

The Mersey Gateway - six lane toll bridge

Ramboll has played a significant role in the Mersey Gateway project, the central feature of the significant highway improvements between the M56 and Speke Road. It is a new six-lane cable-stayed tolled bridge across the Mersey Estuary between Runcorn and Widnes.

Øresund bridge

The Øresund Link

The Øresund Link connects the Danish capital Copenhagen with the city of Malmö in southern Sweden by a four lane motorway and a two track electrified railway for high speed (200 km/h) passenger services as well as freight trains.

Twin Sails Bridge, Poole, UK.  Dave Morris Photography

Twin Sails Bridge

The competition-winning design for the second road bridge crossing in Poole Harbour is a steel bascule bridge known as ‘Twin Sails’ for its distinctive silhouette when open …

Jarrold Bridge, Norwich. Image: Jaap Oepkes

Jarrold Bridge, Norwich

To the north of the River Wensum in Norwich, land is under redevelopment to create 200 houses, 20,500 sq m of office space, an hotel, 1,500 sq m of retail space, restaurants and cafés. The masterplan includes a new pedestrian bridge providing direct access to the city centre from the Barrack Street site. Various constraints and statutory requirements necessitated extensive liaison with Norwich Council and the Broads Authority to deliver a satisfactory design.

Spanning a narrow 30m section of the Wensum, the deck needs to sit 2.9m above the water level to allow river traffic to pass unhindered. Long approach ramps are necessary to retain full accessibility for cycles and wheelchairs. To accommodate this, the bridge is 80m in length and curves to form a ‘J’ shape, aligning with t ...

Gateshead Millenium Bridge. Ramboll

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Spanning the River Tyne to link the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides, Gateshead Millennium Bridge was the world's first tilting bridge. Our bridge engineers developed the competition-winning concept design in collaboration with Wilkinson Eyre Architects.

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