Ian Firth designs bridges all around the world; some are very long and cross over wide rivers or sea channels, and some are really short and in the middle of towns and cities, but "all of them are unique and special in their own way."

Why you should listen

As Ian Firth writes: "I have been fortunate enough to work on some of the world's most amazing bridges, and I lead fantastic teams of engineers involved in the design, construction and management of bridges all over the world. Since 1990, when I became a Partner in Flint & Neill, the UK engineering consultants who I joined as a young graduate in 1979, I have helped to grow the firm into one of the world's leading bridge design consultancies. Flint & Neill joined the Danish COWI Group in 2008 and rebranded as COWI (UK) in January 2017.

"I love the fact that my work has included some of the very biggest bridges as well as some much smaller and more intimate ones. The big ones include the huge 3.3 km-long single-span suspension bridge over the Messina Strait in Italy and the 1 km span Stonecutters Bridge in Hong Kong. The smaller ones include Copenhagen's new Inner Harbour Bridge, the Third Way Bridge in Taunton and the Swansea Sail Bridge in Wales. In fact, one of my favorites is the smallest: the little Bridge of Aspiration in London's Covent Garden, which is only 9 meters long! Working alongside bridge architects, I always try to weave elegance and beauty into my designs alongside the essential safety, economy and other factors, so that my bridges are popular as well as efficient and durable. Altogether, I reckon I have designed well over 100 bridges, but sadly not all of them have been built!"

Ian Firth’s TED talk

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