A timber bridge constructed in seventeenth-century Japan: Study of innovation in the construction of Kintai Bridge and its maintenance techniques

Medium: conference paper
Language(s): en 
Conference: 6th International Congress on Construction History (6ICCH 2018), July 9-13, 2018, Brussels, Belgium
Published in:
Page(s): 1113-1120
Abstract: The Kintai Bridge, in Japan, was constructed in 1673. It consists of two spans of girder bridges on both ends and three spans of bridge arches in the middle. Chinese immigrants brought the techniques for building arches to Japan in the seventeenth century. The local carpenters adopted the idea of the arch, but whereas the Chinese built them in stone, the Japanese chose to construct their bridge in timber. This material transformation was achieved through innovations in technology, such as accurate drawing and the processing of woods, the use of metal parts and the surveying, among others. The Kintai Bridge has been maintained by a society of local carpenters through a tradition of regular rebuilding and ongoing repairs. The engineering know-how to maintain the bridge was passed down among the local carpenters, who use detailed elevation drawings, special tools and oral tradition.

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