The Helix

  • The first time a double-helix structure has been used for a bridge.
  • Extremely efficient, uses five times less steel than a conventional box girder bridge.
  • Concept developed in 3D using Arup software.

This landmark bridge at Singapore’s Marina Bay is inspired by the geometric arrangement of DNA, with a walkway encircled by opposing double helix structures of stainless steel.

At first glance, the bridge appears incapable of carrying substantial load. However, Arup designed the bridge’s two delicate helix structures to act together as a tubular truss – inspired by the inherent strength of the curved DNA molecule.

"The Helix is truly an engineering marvel. While the structure is incredibly delicate and intricate, it’s been engineered to support more than 10,000 people at a time. The Helix is the first example of this structural solution applied to a bridge – there is nothing else like it."

– Dr See Lin Ming, Arup project leader

Using Arup’s own 3D software to explore possible solutions, a method of successfully linking the two helices was found. The concept was developed in 3D in a virtual, digital environment.

Lighting design

Arup’s lighting designers emphasised the DNA-inspired design through a series of dynamic multi-coloured LED lights installed on the helix structures.

The outward-facing luminaires accentuate the sweeping structural curves, with another discreet array of lights illuminating the internal canopy of glass and steel mesh to create a dynamic membrane of light. The inner helix uses white light to illuminate a path for pedestrians.

Four viewing ‘pods’ extend out over the water, allowing visitors a 360 degree view of the skyline. Glass openings in the floor provide a connection to the water below.

The 280m-long bridge is the world’s first curved double-helix bridge, and provides pedestrians a direct connection between Marina Centre, the waterfront area and Marina Bay Sands® integrated resort.

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  • The Helix bridge at niight, illuminated in purple. Credit Darren Soh.Open gallery

    The landmark bridge is the first inspired by the double-helix structure of DNA.

  • The Helix bridge at night, illuminate in white. Credit Darren Soh.Open gallery

    Arup’s lighting designers emphasised the DNA-inspired design through a series of dynamic multi-coloured LED lights.