6.2 System Architecture: Form and Function

Mapping of Form and Function

How would we describe the architectural differences between the two bridges shown in Figure 6.2? Both have the same external function (carrying vehicles), and they look surprisingly similar in form (both have two central towers, a roadbed, and cables).

Yet the system architecture of these two bridges is different because their form–function mappings are different. The roadbed (form) of the cable-stay bridge carries load in compression (function), whereas the suspension bridge does not. The anchors (form) for the suspension bridge main cables are reacting to loads from the main cables (function). Since the cable-stay bridge carries tension in the roadbed, it cannot span as ...

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