Mind & Matter


Da Vinci on Ice

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Leonardo Da Vinci bridge in ice. Photo by the Leonardo Bridge Project.


Most of us are familiar with Leonardo Da Vinci’s prolific and diverse contributions to the fields of art and science. From the Mona Lisa to sketches for uncanny flying machines, the creative brilliance of Da Vinci’s works have continued to captivate subsequent generations, including our own. As late as 1952, Da Vinci’s unusual design for a double arcuated bridge was discovered, and subsequent adoration for the design led to the bridge’s actual construction near Oslo in 2001. Now, the Leonardo Bridge Project has enabled the hybrid bow and parabolic arch structure to be constructed in ice in front of the Danish Parliament. The bridge design is so popular that plans for its construction are in place in six other cities. Unfortunately, Des Moines, Iowa curtailed plans to build the bridge after deeming the half-millennium-old design to be too modern.





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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.