We are at the very beginning of the 16th century. The Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II, necessarily a bit megalomaniac like all the sultans of the time, decided to connect the city of Constantinople (Istanbul) to the Galata region by a single bridge. This ambitious project stimulates the boundless imagination of a certain Leonardo da Vinci, who proposes plans for a pillarless bridge 280 meters long, made up of a single arch. In the end, the Sultan refused to proceed and the pillarless bridge will remain one of the many unfinished projects of Italian genius.
A team of scientists from MIT (including architects) wanted to know if the Leonard bridge was really “reliable”, taking into account the master’s plans and the construction constraints of the project (the blocks are made of stone and held together. by simple compression, without mortar). MIT researchers therefore fully reproduced Leonard’s bridge in 3D printing (and at a scale of 1: 500), which required the printing of 126 different parts.
Miracle, the structure turns out to be extremely strong, can withstand very heavy weights for its size, and would even be able to withstand an earthquake! Leonard the engineer (but also the biologist, the painter, the sculptor, the anatomist, the researcher in optics) had therefore imagined the almost perfect bridge for his time.