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Friday, August 19, 2005

August 13, 2005 Architectural monuments

Dear Sis~

I'm watching a program on the Discovery Channel about the building of an ultra-modern cable-stay bridge across the Charleston River in South Carolina. The bridge, now completed, is the longest cable-stay bridge in the United States, and it replaces and dwarfs two very old steel girder spans. Cable-stay bridges are the latest engineering rave; they're elegant, beautiful and very strong. Ever since I was a child I've been utterly fascinated with all types of very large construction projects (dams, bridges, skyscrapers, tunnels)and especially drawn to old stone block structures (cathedrals, castles, aqueducts, amphitheatres, bridges, buildings). Growing up, my dream was to be a civil engineer or architect because I so wanted to design and build immense structures. This desire, or interest, has always been innate and very powerful; it's just in my blood. I believe that in a past life or lives I built such structures. When I was in Italy in 1971 I used to walk the streets of Rome, Florence and other old cities (like Palermo, in Sicily) late at night, all by myself, marveling at the large and ancient structures. Rome, especially, drew me like a moth to a flame. Late at night I'd walk through the Coliseum (beautifully lit up at night) and I'd press myself against the large, cool stone blocks, as if I could go back and relive the construction. I always felt a strong urge to touch, feel and trace the contours of ancient stones and bricks. I was really at home in St. Peter's Cathedral (a basilica, actually) where you can overdose on the immense carved stonework, mostly highly polished marble, shiny as glass, and in surprising colors and hues. I was just as drawn to the engineering behind such beautiful buildings and structures, the nuts and bolts issues of how such structures were designed and built. The huge, ancient stone block aqueducts running from Rome to the water sources in the hills amazed me -a remarkable combination of form and function, and a very impressive engineering feat. The Roman-built aqueducts, some over 2,000 years old, still stretch hundreds of miles all across Europe and North Africa...Anyway, Sis, this new bridge at Charleston is a fine work of modern engineering. Still, if it lasts one-tenth as long as the Roman Coliseum, it will be surprising...

I've gotta get back to work, Sis (I'm deep into a stack of US Supreme Court decisions) so I'll mail this off with a hug. Just 34 days until our visit!

Love & Peace Bill

4 comments:

griselda72tiana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
andrekellner said...

Dear Bill and Lisa,

Just came across this new blog and like always enjoyed it. I have also read in an interview on DRS that Bill was very much interested in bridges, enginering and architectures. Wonder if he had heared about "The Millau Viaduct". This Viaduct shows you that we ,Europeans, are still the world leaders in the engineering field (and like to add to that the company I work for also contributed to this viaduct:) ). The Millau Viaduct was opened in 2005. Some information I grabbed from the world wide web for you...

Bridges are often considered to belong to the engineer's realm rather than the architect's. But the architecture of infrastructure has a powerful impact on the environment. The Millau Viaduct, designed in collaboration with engineers, illustrates how the architect can play an integral role in bridge design.

Located in southern France, the bridge will connect the motorway from Paris to Barcelona at the point where it is interrupted by the River Tarn, which runs through a wide gorge between two plateaus. A reading of the topography suggested two possible approaches: to cross the river, the geological generator of the landscape; or there was the challenge of spanning the 2.5 kilometers from one plateau to the other in the most economical manner.

The structural solution follows from the latter philosophical standpoint. The bridge has the optimum span between cable-stayed columns. It is delicate, transparent, and uses the minimum material, which makes it less costly to construct. Each of its sections spans 350 meters and its columns range in height from 75 meters to 235 meters - higher than the Eiffel Tower - with the masts rising a further 90 meters above the road deck. To accommodate the expansion and contraction of the concrete deck, each column splits into two thinner, more flexible columns below the roadway, forming an A-frame above deck level. This structure creates a dramatic silhouette - and crucially it makes the minimum intervention in the landscape.

Some pictures:

http://monitor.admin.musc.edu/~cfs/bridge/millau_viaduct.jpg

http://www.aasens.com/images/61_041214_millau_bridge_hmed_5a.jpg

http://www.duoh.com/cms/images/uploads/millau_viaduct.jpg

What do you think of that? That's engineering! :)

I am almost finished translating a bunch of info and will wrap it up together with some pics and send it of to Bill ASAP.

For now take care and I wish you both the best!

Your friend from Holland,

André

B O B said...

I have read your blog completely, and did a good deal of reading of the website. I did not stop there, I went and read the circuit court opinion. and various news articles about you and Vales.

We have posted to stories about you on Lynchburg Virginia blog, but you may not like the conclusion we have drawn.

Although, we agree with you that Vales was the triggerman. You did take part in this crime that ended the life of the prision gurard.

Could I ask you one simple question. Where is your remorse for the guard that was shot three times in the head?

I do not see it on your website or here. Poyck, was a career criminal who from childhood was on this path of crime. Poyck, I agree is very intelligent, and he used that intelligence to pursue a life of crime. I do not find it surprising, that he is sitting on death row. He started on the path years before a guard ended up dead.

Now, Poyck is trying to unring a bell. Well the bell cannot be unrung for the guard that was killed.

andrekellner said...

I would like to reply to the last comment. Even though Bill made allot of mistakes and pursued a life of crime in the past, there is no reason to support the death penalty for any reason nor crime. You don't teach people that killing is wrong by killing. This is beyond any discussion of guilt or innocent. The death penalty does not serve as a deterrent but as revenge. If you support the death penalty and like to kill people out of revenge, whether they are guilty or not, you’re just as bad and you can’t argue with that!

Second thing I would like to add is that every person is responsible for it’s own act. Bill did not pull that trigger nor was he aware it would happen up front. Why should he die for this? In my opinion he spent enough time in jail, under a harsh regime, and paid his price for his involvement.