Guard Rail / guard rail design / Japan Highway Public Corporation
Design for a metal guard rail along the Tokai Hokuriku Highway.
The Tokai Hokuriku Highway passes through the mountainous region of northern east Japan. Concerning the beautiful view from the highway, a simple design with high transparency was demanded.
Usually guard rails along highway bridges are concrete walls that give a strong feeling of oppression to the passenger and block the view.
In order to liberate the passenger from the feeling of oppression, a vertical structure was avoided. The horizontally structured guard rail stresses the spaciousness above the bridge and gives, to a certain degree, a feeling of freedom.
The brace is made of two props that bend slowly from back to the front while bearing the guarding beams.
The H-shaped flanges of the prop create a clear slender appearance. The driver's view is guided along the beams that also contribute to transparency due to their elliptical shape.
All parts of the design guarantee harmonious balance. Concerning the space of the bridge from the driver's view, the effect is a softer and opener impression, giving the image of smooth and comfortable driving.
On that occasion a snow protection fence (to protect the street crossing below the bridge from falling goods or snow loads) was designed, using an also highly transparent grid panel that describes a decent curve. Good Design Award 2001.
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