Bridge to Somewhere: DaVinci's Design on Ice

ice bridge photo

Photo courtesy of the Leonardo Bridge Project.

A 52-foot bridge made of live ice is on display in front of the Danish Parliament on the Christiansborg Slotsplads. The display for COP15 "opened" yesterday and stays up until in melts. It's part of the Leonardo Bridge Project, which is creating this graceful yet powerful structure in permanent materials on each continent around the world based on a 500-year-old design by Leonardo da Vinci. All the bridges hold a symbolic meaning and though Copenhagen's ice bridge will melt, the hope is that it remains standing through the conference. How long do you think it will last?In collaboration with the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and Embassy in Copenhagen, Norwegian artist Vebjørn Sand sculpted the ice bridge, following da Vinci's elegant design. Part of the countless events and exhibits surrounding COP15, a display on ice ecology accompanies the structure to underscore the problems of glacier melting, loss of ice sheets and the disintegrating Antarctica ice bridge.

Da Vinci Code: arcing to the other side

Sand's idea is to inspire artistic, spiritual and intellectual endeavors that transcend cultural borders through the construction of Leonardo da Vinci's bridge design. The idea of a global network of these bridges as public landmarks intends to bring people in touch with a shared awe of nature and each other. In creating this engineering feat of architectural beauty, the artist integrates art and science to erect both a real and metaphorical bridge.

Originally designed by Leonardo as a bridge spanning the "Golden Horn," the waterway dividing western Istanbul, it uses pressed bow and parabolic arches to form its unique structural integrity. The footholds use natural terrain and appropriate landscaping. It was never constructed until the plans were discovered in 1952 and finally executed in Oslo in 2001. With the classic combination of form and function, projects are in the works in Texas, Florida, France, Turkey, China and Spain. Plans in Des Moines, Iowa were canceled when da Vinci's 500-year-old design was considered too modern.

More on bridges:
Reclaimed Spaces: West 8 Designs Botanic Bridge
World's Longest Solar Footbridge Also Powers the Main Grid
Bridges are for People: 7 Bridges that People Live and Work On

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