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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