A bridge from Namur that stretches to China

The suspension bridge built by Nicolas Godelet, an architect from Namur, was inaugurated in Beijing on 1 October to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1949 Revolution.

After winning the international architecture competition in Beijing in 2011, Nicolas Godelet started work on construction of a cable-stayed bridge that he christened “Chang’An”. The bridge is a veritable goldmine of technical innovations.

Its physical characteristics are indeed very impressive. The structure has a total length of 1,350m and is 47m wide, and used 45,000 tonnes of steel. Built entirely with curves, it straddles a 400m wide river.


To preserve the river, whose banks were built by the Ming dynasty in the 14th century to prevent Beijing from flooding, the structure rests on 4 supports that are aligned with the current. The bridge is therefore not perpendicular to the river. In addition, the bridge links Mentougou to Beijing via the 8 road lanes in its centre.

In modelling the bridge, Nicolas Godelet used an innovative aeronautics programme that made it possible to work in three dimensions, without using paper. He also filed a patent for the bridge structure, which combined the master beam of the deck with the structure of the arches. The architect also thought a lot about the materials used. Along with his team, he developed photo-luminescent materials that absorb solar energy to illuminate public areas.

The bridge will connect the two sites of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. For the architect, the idea was to give soul to the venue that will host the infrastructure for the Olympic Games and the athletes’ villages. The bridge will likely become the future symbol of the competition.