Friday, December 19, 2014

Leonardo Da Vinci's unrealised Golden Horn Bridge

Its been more than one year since I wrote an entry on my blog because I'm a lazy bum. But I suddenly felt a bit motivated when my friends suggested that I should write something on my blog, especially since I have time to post lengthy facebook//instagram posts, why not make time for my blog?

Currently, I am studying Civil Engineering in University of Manchester and I am on a winter break with my family in Istanbul. Since I'm studying Civil Engineering, I should be passionate about structures including bridges; since I'm currently in Istanbul, a blog post on Leonardo da Vinci's Golden Horn Bridge in 1500s, an unprecedented bridge design that was 300 years ahead of his time, which connects the Europe and Asia continent in modern-day Istanbul, would be most appropriate for my current interest.

Utilizing three well-known geometrical principles ( Honestly I have shallow knowledge on these principles, so if you are intrigued to analysis the bridge, please ask Mr.Google :P) ; the pressed-bow, parabolic curve and keystone arch, da Vinci designed an unprecedented single span 240m long and 24m wide bridge for the Golden Horn, which would have become the longest bridge in the world of that time, and certainly could have been one of the most significant tourist attraction in the world.
design of the bridge

Unfortunately, like many ideas that are unfamiliar, or 'too far ahead of time', it was ultimately rejected. Instead of putting in effort to understand the design and perhaps make some suggestions, as most people should as learners, skeptics including engineers and architects advised Sultan Mehmed II to turn down the proposal. I have nothing againsts skeptics and in fact, I like them for their critical mind, but I personally think skeptics should also test out and try ideas instead of simply rejecting them.

 For five hundred years, the beauty and symbolism of Leonardo da Vinci's graceful design intended to span the Golden Horn inlet in Istanbul (then Constantine) remained an obscurem tiny drawing in a corner of one of Leonardo's volumnious notebooks. It was until 1996 when Vebjorn Sand, a Norwegian artist, proposed the Norwegian Public Roads undertake the construction of the project, which eventually turned reality in Oslo, Norway as the mini version of da Vinci's design.
Leonardo da Vinci's mini Golden Horn bridge in Oslo, Norway

Imagine, what if the engineers were more curious and open to new ideas, or if they were willing to take the risk and spend enormous amount of resources in this ambitious project, or at least test the idea on a smaller scale before proceeding to the big project, da Vinci's bridge could have been a reality, and certainly, a central figure for historical monuments in the world. (the bridge could have been in Assassin's Creed too :P)