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Golden Gate Bridge: History and Design of an Icon

Golden Gate Bridge: History and Design of an Icon
By: Donald MacDonald and Ira Nadel (2008)

"So emblematic that its unmistakable profile, epic stature, and harmonious proportions seem preordained, the Golden Gate Bridge is an architectural icon for the ages. Yet, a long and sometimes contentious series of design and engineering decisions went into making it the brigde people have known and loved for generations.

In this deligthful and informative volume, Donald Macdonald and Ira Nadel reveal the historical inspirations behind the bridge's elegant lines and shapes. Drawing on influences as diverse as Mayan architecture and Art Deco, the original designers sought to build a structure that would be timeless.

MacDonald's charming illustrations and Nadel's friendly text show how all these details came together to create an architectural landmark that millions of people marvel at each year. From the origin of its stunning International Orange color to peek into its bright future, Golden Gate Bridge tells the story of this beloved monument, in all its detail and soaring grandeur."


"This fascinating volume unpicks the process by which the Golden Gate Bridge achieved iconic status worldwide, from its wholehearted embrace of the Art Deco style through to modern-day concerns such as designof a suicide barrier for the bridge.

What makes this modestly-sized book stand out from the crowd is the fact that it is illustrated entirely with hand-drawn sketches by architect Donald Macdonald. As well as sketches that show the structure in its entirety, compare different colour scheme options and highlight the purpose of the architectural architectural treatment of the towers, MacDonald has turned his hand to sketches of other supsension bridges, other designs for the San Francisco Span, Art Deco buildings carrying motifs similar to those used on the bridge, and even sketches of St Peter's Cathedral colonnade in Rome, which inspired bridge architect Irving Morrow in his toll plaza design."

- Bridge:Design and Engineering (2008)

"Everything you wanted to know about the Golden Gate Bridge but never thought to ask. We get bridge-building history, an exploration of rejected designs and a look at how the bridge is ever being tweaked, from seismic upgrades to current proposals for installing nets as a suicide prevention measure. With the easygoing prose come dozens of delightfully accessible sketches by MacDonald, an architect who has helped design some of the upgrades."

- J. King, San Francisco Chronicle (2008)