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Swiss engineer specializing in the construction of prestressed and reinforced concrete bridges of high aesthetic value.

Biographical Information

Name: Christian Menn
Born on 3 March 1927 in , Berne, Switzerland, Europe
Deceased on 16 July 2018

Graduates from the Federal Technological Institute (ETH) Zurich after 4 years of studies


Becomes assistant to Professor Pierre Lardy after being cured of a tuberculosis infection




Opens his own design office in Chur, Graubünden (Switzerland)


Builds his first bridges at Cröt and Letziwald where he is influenced by Robert Maillart's work


Reichenau Bridge

1965 - 1967

Nanin and Cascella Bridges


Wins design competition for the Felsenau Bridge with engineers Emsch and Berger of Bern


Elected professor of statics and construction at the ETH Zürich


Completion of Ganter Bridge


Freyssinet Medal


Honorary doctorate from the University of Stuttgart

Structures and Projects

Biography from Wikipedia

Christian Menn (March 3, 1927 – July 16, 2018) was a Swiss bridge designer. He led his own engineering company in Chur from 1957–1971. From 1971 until his retirement in 1992, he was a professor of structural engineering at ETH Zurich, specializing in bridge design. In his retirement years, he continued to be a consulting engineer in private practice.

Education and practical training

Born in Meiringen, Canton of Bern, Menn graduated from high school (Kantonsschule Chur) in 1946, followed by structural engineering studies at ETH Zurich. He received a diploma as Bauingenieur (civil engineer) in 1950. From 1950 through 1953 he worked for construction engineering companies. Then, he returned to ETH Zurich to become assistant to Pierre Lardy, a well-known professor of structural engineering, and was awarded a PhD degree in 1956. He gained practical experience working for companies in Paris and Bern before starting his own consulting company in 1957.

Design philosophy

Menn’s bridges had to be designed for the times: "Structural Analysis found itself at the time in the transition from descriptive graphical analysis to abstract analytical statics". (Menn, 2002) Menn worked very closely with Pierre Lardy during the beginning of his career, emphasizing the design of structures based on aesthetics and economy. Menn believed that economy, serviceability and safety of the bridge would revolve around aesthetics.

Menn has stated that an engineer achieves safety and serviceability by understanding the underlying scientific principles, but that economy and elegance are achieved through non-scientific ideas. An engineer must also have aesthetic creativity. Menn describes his bridges with abstract theoretical models which allow him to analyze bridges and find stresses and distribution of forces within the structure. Building on this framework, he is able to devise numerical calculations which can eventually be used in computer modeling of the structures.

Swiss tourism

The important role of tourism in the Swiss economy has a strong influence on the types of bridges that are constructed. When choosing a bridge design, Swiss leaders prioritize the aesthetic characteristics of a bridge more highly than a country that is less tourism-driven. The need for visually appealing bridges afforded bridge designer Menn with a great opportunity. His use of pre-stressed concrete and the implementation of cable-stayed bridge decks give his designs great aesthetic appeal.

Professional organizations

Christian Menn was a member of the Swiss Society of Civil Engineers (SIA), the Swiss Trade Group for Bridge and Building Engineering, International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE), and Swiss Code-Committee for Reinforced and Prestressed Concrete Structures. Before retirement, he was a member of the ETH research committee.


Christian Menn was awarded the 2009 IABSE International Award of Merit, and the Sunniberg Bridge won the 2001 IABSE Outstanding Structure Award.

Text imported from Wikipedia article "Christian Menn" and modified on 22 July 2019 under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license.


  1. Menn, Christian (1984): Architektur und Unarchitektur im Strassenbau. In: Schweizer Ingenieur und Architekt, v. 102, n. 44 (25 October 1984).


  2. Menn, Christian (1969): Auflager-Bewegungen bei Brücken. In: Schweizerische Bauzeitung (1947-1978), v. 87, n. 46 (13 November 1969).


  3. Menn, Christian (2006): Die Bedeutung der Kreativität beim Brückenentwurf. Presented at: 16. Dresdner Brückenbausymposium, Dresden, 14. März 2006.
  4. Menn, Christian: The Art of Bridge Design. In: Nordenson, Guy (): Seven Structural Engineers. The Museum of Modern Art, New York (USA), ISBN 978-0-87070-703-2, pp. 122-139.
  5. Menn, Christian (1998): Baukultur im Brückenbau. In: Baukultur, n. 3 ( 1998), pp. 25-29.
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