Students Build A Bridge Based On A Leonardo Da Vinci Sketch

Using nothing but ice.

01/04/2016 12:26 pm ET
Photo via artnet/MNN
Rendering of "Bridge in Ice," the construction inspired by a Leonardo da Vinci design.

This post originally appeared on artnet News.

Leonardo da Vinci is commonly known for painting the most famous portrait in the world, the Mona Lisa. But, a true Renaissance man, he also made great contributions in the fields of mathematics, science, anatomy, and engineering.

In fact, one of his greatest engineering feats was an ambitious bridge designed to span the Bosphorus, the 32-kilometer long strait that separates the continents of Europe and Asia in what is now Istanbul. Leonardo da Vinci sketched the design of the stone bridge in 1502, but the 240-meter long structure was never built.

Until now, that is. A group of students and volunteers is currently building a bridge based on Leonardo's sketch in Juuka, Finland. Led by the Eindhoven University of Technology, the contemporary reinterpretation of the Italian polymath's work has a surprising twist: instead of using typical construction materials, the environmentally-friendly project titled "Bridge in Ice" is created, as the name suggests, with frozen water.

Photo via artnet/Bridge in Ice/Facebook
Rendering of "Bridge in Ice," the ice bridge inspired by design by Leonardo da Vinci.

Measuring 35 meters in length, the construction of the ice bridge began on December 28, 2015, and will be finished on February 13, 2016. Although the bridge will only be used by pedestrians, a car will be driven across it to test its strength, according to The Daily Mail.

The structure is being built using huge inflatable molds, where a composite of water with added cellulose fibers -- a material called pykrete -- is pumped into. It will be, according to the project's website, the longest ice bridge in the world (apparently, there have been previous, more modest attempts to construct Leonardo's bridge design using ice).

The ice bridge is erected as part of an open-air installation along the Snow Track in Juuka, where other experimental ice projects are located, including a series of sculptures by artist Rinus Roelofs, a self-confessed Leonardo fan.

The area also plays host to additional pieces by the students responsible for the bridge, such as the largest-ever ice dome, and a scaled ice-model of Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Familia.

Photo via artnet

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