In 1501, Leonardo da Vinci conceived a bridge that is sleek and beautiful. In his mind, it would be built over the Golden Horn, a natural inlet of the Bosphorus Strait.
At that time, the Golden Horn divided the city of Constantinople and was controlled by Ottoman leader Mehmed II. The leader ordered Muslims, Christians, and Jews to resettle the city and continue its legacy as the largest and richest urban center in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is now modern-day Istanbul, Turkey.
The story goes that da Vinci created a sketch of a 240-meter (787-foot) single span bridge. This was the very first time such a large single span bridge was proposed. Unfortunately, construction methods that would support the building of such a structure didn’t come about for 300 more years.
The following is da Vinci’s original drawing.
At one point in time, the Sultan of Istanbul had planned to build it with stone, but this never happened. Fast-forward to 2016, and students of Eindhoven University of Technology in Juuka, Finland have decided to build the structure out of ice and in the process of being constructed near the campus. Instead of being 240 meters, it will be 35 meters and the largest ice structure ever built.
In order to accomplish the feat, the team will be “mixing cellulose fibers with water,” this will then “result in an ice-composite, which will be three times stronger than plain ice, and even 20 times more ductile.”
“Besides reinforced ice we use two more important techniques for constructing the Ice-structures. After mixing the fibers with water we pump the mixture through long tubes. By hand we spray layers of ice, just a couple of millimeters every time. We spray on big inflatable molds. These molds are positioned and inflated, secured to have a continuous air-pressure for as little deformation as possible,” the group shared.
The bridge will be completed on February 13, 2016 and a two ton vehicle will be driven over its surface as a test.