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Paper Bridge At Pont du Gard designed
by Japanese Architect

translated by Walt Ballenberger from an article on the TV5 web site.
The Japanese architect Shigeru Ban
recently inaugurated his “paper
bridge” in front of the Pont du Gard,
the famous Roman aqueduct in
southern France not far from Avignon.  
This paper bridge can hold up to 20
people at a time due to the strength of
the tubes of cardboard from which it is
built.

“It is an interesting contrast: the roman
bridge built from stones and the paper
bridge.  The paper is also perhaps
permanent, having strength and
longevity, one must let go of his
prejudices”, explained Shigeru Ban,
who has built here a world’s first with
this simple and recyclable material
which he has turned into his specialty.
Japanese architect Shigeru Ban standing in
front of his paper bridge located 500 meters
from the famous Pont du Gard in France.
“The shape is inspired from the Pont du Gard”, with a span of 20 meters like one of the
inferior arches of the lower level of the ancient bridge that is classified as a World
Heritage site by Unesco, added the architect.

Born in 1957 in Tokyo, he is known for his shelters made of cartons for people
stranded by earthquakes in Japan, Turkey, or in India as well as refugees from
Rwanda.  In France he is one of the designers, with Jean de Gastines, of the Pompidou
Center in Metz, which is being made of wood, concrete, steel, and glass, and which
should open in 2008.

“A bridge, that was one of my dreams”, he continued while thanking 20 students of the
National School of Architecture from Montpellier who put together the bridge, along with
three Japanese students, in a little over a month as part of their hands-on training.
His bridge, 500 meters from the Roman bridge, crosses the Gardon up to a small island
where swimmers relax.  It will be open to the public until 16 September.  It will then be
taken down until the flooding season is over and then put back together to “become an
element of the visit”, stated site director Bernard Pouverel.
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