The Pont du Gard’s little brother: a cardboard tube bridge by Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban,



Wood, Metal,


Shigeru Ban built a cardboard tube bridge with a view of the first century Roman bridge over the Gardon in Nimes

The Pont du Gard’s little brother: a cardboard tube bridge by Shigeru Ban

The construction of Shigeru Ban’s cardboard tube pedestrian bridge by the Pont du Gard near Nimes, France was a great event for visitors from all over the region.
The bridge applies the Japanese architect’s know-how with structural cardboard, a material he has been using for years in his rapidly built, zero-impact projects. The form is inspired by the famous aqueduct bridge the Romans built over the Gardon in the first century after Christ. Even the measurements are based on those of the old bridge, whose 22-metre span unites the two river banks and is the same of that of the arches repeated on the first order of the historic bridge. The same applies to the choice of forms, somewhat provocatively designed to look like a near-full arch.
But the bridge is only temporary and the tubes intentionally contrast with the durability of the stone used to build the Roman bridge which has been looking up and down the valley with imperious agility for centuries. The cardboard tube bridge, on the other hand, is formed of a slender pair of trellis arches with a triangular section, the rods and struts of which are stitched together by pretensioned cables. The pair is connected to other, bigger cardboard tubes, on which the wooden slats of the sidewalk rest, laid on a metal frame. The foundations are made with crates of steel and wood, weighted down with steel to allow them to fit into the base of the purlins. While the width of the bridge is relatively modest, never exceeding 6 metres, the bridge’s final area surface totals only 120 sqm. The low cost of the project makes this simplicity worthwhile: the engineering phase lasted from February to May 2007, when the bridge was raised only to be taken down at the end of the summer, once Le Monde had nicknamed it the “litte brother” of the Pont du Gard. 

Fabrizio Orsini  


Location: Pont du Gard (France)
Site Area: 160 Ha Building
Area: 120m² Total Floor Area: 45m² Maximum Height: 6.5m Span: 22mX6m  
Structure: Main Structure: Paper tubes/Metallic nodes
Secondary structure: Wood/Plastic and paper composite (UPM company-Finland)
Foundation Structure: Wood/steel boxes
Design Period: February 2007 to May 2007
Construction Period: July 2007
Main Purpose (Project Type): Foot bridge
Client: EPCC of “Le Pont du Gard” Construction
Cost: 150,000 euro

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