Crosses the River Avon
Bridges lined with shops have always been rarities, but Robert Adam's creation in Bath has more than novelty value. His restrained composition of curves and rectangles was one of the visual delights of English Neo-classicism. The uncluttered lines of the river facades were designed to be effective at a distance, while the elevations to the road provided an interesting play of light and shadow for passers-by. Paradoxically, the success of the concept destroyed the architecture. Within twenty years of its building, commercial pressures on this prime shop site dictated an expansion upwards, with a butchery of those graceful elevations which fortunately Adam was not alive to witness. Then in the nineteenth century, individual leaseholders enlarged their shop windows or cantilevered out over the river as the fancy took them. Storms and road widening also took their toll. By I948 the buildings had 'become pathetic travesties of the original design.'" In that very year, Bath City Council removed a wooden structure from the back of one shop; the tide had turned. From then on the story has been one of gradual restoration.
Japan is the home of the small picturesque bridge of timber arches, frequently built without the use of a single metal nail or bolt. Christian Barman cites Japanese bridges as examples of ‘exquisitely perfected temporary construction’. Briges and temples were often rebuilt anually. the famous Kintai-kyo bridge at Iwakuni used to have its five arches rebuilt in succession, so that the whole bridge was renewed every twenty-five years. According to Japenese belief structures must never be allowwed to fall into decay as that would enfeeble the spirit of continuity on which the survival of mankind depends (H. Shirley 32).