Christian Menn

​Christian Menn was born in Switzerland in 1927. He graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, in Civil Engineering in 1950. Following further studies and research he graduated from ETH with a doctorate in 1956. He worked as a Consulting Engineer from 1957 to 1971 when he became professor of Structural Engineering at ETH. He retired from this position in 1992 and returned to consulting engineering. ​Christian Menn is one of the great structural bridge engineers of the post war era, particularly in the field of concrete bridges. He has worked on more than 100 bridges. He fully appreciates the synergy of architecture and engineering in design and construction. His principle is “form follows function” with regard to the proportionality and harmony of a bridge in its surroundings. The natural beauty and landscape of Switzerland encouraged the authorities to promote the aesthetics of bridge design. Due to the difficult terrain and climate, the concepts promoted by Christian Menn were welcomed and his knowledge of the strength of materials played a critical role in this acceptance. ​Christian Menn’s father was an associate of Robert Maillart (1872 - 1940) and Maillart’s influence is particularly seen in his earlier work. He later expanded and evolved his ideas with the availability of prestressing, cantilevering construction methods and curved bridges.

Image of Christian Menn

Ganter Bridge, Switzerland. Designed by Christian Menn

© By Markus Schweiss [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

​His most famous bridge is probably the Ganter Bridge (1982) in Switzerland. It is a reversed curved bridge with a main straight span of 174m (571 ft) and two curved side spans of 127m (417 ft) each. The highest pier is 150m (492 ft) above the valley and the cables are encased in concrete. ​The evolution of his designs over time and his knowledge of materials is exemplified by the Sunniberg Bridge (1998) in Kloisters, Switzerland. It is a curved cable bridge but the cable tower is smaller than a standard tower and the concept of extradosed prestressing is introduced. It has multiple spans the longest of which is 140m (459 ft).