Viñoly's Round Bridge

Why build a straightforward bridge for an unremarkable sum when the same bridge could be built as a circle for vast amounts of money?

A new bridge spanning (or circumnavigating) Laguna Garzón, a coastal lagoon in southeastern Uruguay, poses just that question. It’s a circular bridge, or rather two joined semicircular bridges, that crosses the lagoon, which runs along the border of the states of Maldonado and Rocha. At a glance, it’s the sort of ridiculousness that you might expect of a bridge in London.

In fact, there’s a perfectly good functional explanation for it. The Laguna Garzón bridge was designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects to expand the number of drivers able to cross from Maldonado into Rocha while at the same time curbing the speed of the cars themselves. According to Consultatio Real Estate, a company run by the bridge’s key backer, Argentinian real-estate developer Eduardo Constantini, the bridge replaces a raft crossing. Whereas just a handful of cars could pass over before, some 1,000 vehicles will cross the new bridge every day.