case study Leonardo Bridge Project Essay

case study Leonardo Bridge Project Essay

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When Leonardo da Vinci designed a 240 meters bridge it would have been the longest bridge in

the world. His plan was ambitious. In 1502, a skeptical sultan rejected Leonardo's design as

impossible, but 300 years civilization finally embraced the engineering principle - arches as

supports - underlying the construction. The bridge has been constructed, in Norway.

Now instead of spanning the Bosporus , his visionary creation was destined to span 500 years as

a bridge to another millennium. Vebjorn Sand, the man behind the modern project, has a site

with images and details.

Leonardo Bridge Project
In 1502 Leonardo da Vinci did a simple drawing of a graceful bridge with a single span of 720-foot

span (approximately 240-meters.) Da Vinci designed the bridge as part of a civil engineering

project for Sultan Bajazet II of Constantinople (Istanbul.) The bridge was to span the Golden

Horn, an inlet at the mouth of the Bosphorus River in what is now Turkey.
The Bridge was never built.

Leonardo's "Golden Horn" Bridge is a perfect "pressed-bow." Leonardo surmised correctly that

the classic keystone arch could be stretched narrow and substantially widened without losing

integrity by using a flared foothold, or pier, and the terrain to anchor each end of the span. It was

conceived 300 years prior to its engineering principals being generally accepted. It was to be 72

feet-wide (24 meters), 1080-foot total length (360 meters) and 120 feet (40 meters) above the

sea level at the highest point of the span.

Norwegian painter and public art creator, Vebjørn Sand, saw the drawing and a model of the

bridge in an exhibition on da Vinci's architectural & engineering designs in 1996. The power of the

simple design overwhelmed him. He conceived of a project to bring its eternal beauty to life. The

Norwegian Leonardo Bridge Project makes history as the first of Leonardo's civil engineering

designs to be constructed for public use.

Vebjørn Sand took the project to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. Though hardly a

visionary organization, when Sand presented the project the reaction was unanimous. "Everyone

on the project knew we would be making something more than another boring bridge," Sand

says of his meetings with government officials, "We would be...

... middle of paper ...

...or the Project.

Through the process of development, these world-class architects and engineers have joined

Vebjørn Sand to create a "dream team" of experts on the history, design and structural aspects

of the "Queen of Bridges" prepared to implement the global project. Sand's vision to build the

bridge on each continent also includes drawing on the cultural traditions, and incorporating

materials, unique to each region.

Finally, the Leonardo Bridge Project represents a historical connection between Europe and the

Middle East, between Christianity and Islam. The Italian Renaissance was inspired by the

scholarship of the Ottoman Empire. Leonardo, in turn, was fascinated by the Middle East. This

aspect seems particularly relevant since the events of September 11, 2001, as the Leonardo

Project expands into the global goodwill project Vebjørn Sand envisioned.

The Norwegian Leonardo Bridge was constructed and opened to foot and bicycle traffic on

October 31, 2001. Da Vinci's vision resurrected, 500 years after the drawing was made. Vebjørn

Sand is currently considering several sites in the United States for the next Leonardo Bridge


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