March 31st 1889: Eiffel Tower opens
On this day in 1889 in the French capital of Paris, the iconic Eiffel Tower was officially opened. The tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution and is named after its designer Gustave Eiffel. After two years of building it was inaugurated on March 31st 1889 with Eiffel, government officials, and the press going to the top of the tower by foot. Upon reaching the top, Eiffel hoisted a French flag which was accompanied with a 25 gun salute. The tower was supposed to be dismantled in 1909 but it soon became apparent the tower had both cultural and practical value as it was used for communications. Upon its creation it was the tallest man-made structure in the world (it was defeated by the Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930). The tower is now the national icon of France and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, drawing almost seven million visitors in 2011 alone.
Ruck-a-Chucky Bridge T.Y. Lin International, Hanson Engineers, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)
Unbuilt project, 1979
“The bridge was designed to span the American River in California, about 10 miles upstream from a planned dam. The challenge was to connect roads running parallel to the steep valley walls without requiring the extensive and costly re-grading required for a straight bridge, and a curved span with customary vertical supports was ruled out by the 450-foot depth of the anticipated reservoir. Hence the “hanging arc” concept for the bridge, with a curved concrete deck supported by 80 post-tensioned cables anchored in the slopes of the gorge.” [via]