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A bridge to faith | by Bram du Saar
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A bridge to faith

St Paul's is a lasting monument to the glory of God and a symbol of the hope, resilience and strength of the city of London and the United Kingdom. However, the old St Paul's was gutted in the Great Fire of London of 1666, just after it was built in 1630. The task of designing a replacement was officially assigned to Sir Christopher Wren in 1668.


The cathedral is built of Portland stone in a late Renaissance style, or in English terms: sober Baroque. Its impressive dome was inspired by St Peter's Basilica in Rome. It rises 365 feet (108 m) to the cross at its summit, making it a famous London landmark. The large dome is composed of three layers. The inner and outer layers are catenary curves, but the structural integrity to support the heavy stone structure on top of the dome is provided by an intermediary layer which is much steeper and more conical in shape. The dome is restrained by a wrought iron chain to prevent the base spreading and cracking.


The London Millennium Footbridge in front is from a more recent age. It’s a pedestrian-only steel suspension bridge crossing the River Thames; linking Bankside (Tate Modern) with the City (St Paul’s). The bridge is nicknamed “Wobbly Bridge” after crowds of pedestrians felt an unexpected swaying motion on the first two days after the bridge opened. The movements were caused by a 'positive feedback' phenomenon, known as synchronous lateral excitation. Anybody knows that, right! So, why not renowned architects at Arup, Foster and Partners and Sir Anthony Caro, who designed the bridge? After the discovery the bridge was closed and modified, and further modifications eliminated – and perhaps unfortunately - the wobble entirely.


In the past one could take great photos of St. Paul’s peeking though Peter’s Hill. But with the new Millennium Footbridge the peek hole has become smaller than before. So, after some careful positioning I took this photo, hoping to show both structures in their own grant way.


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Taken on July 19, 2009