Students in Juuka, Finland Building ‘Golden Horn’ Bridge Designed by Da Vinci out of Ice

January 8, 2016 Updated: January 8, 2016

Students in Finland have undertaken the building of a “golden horn” bridge, originally designed by Leonardo Da Vinci.

The bridge is being built out of ice by the students at Eindhoven University of Technology in Juuka. 

A number of local companies, volunteers, and organizations are helping with the project. Tulikivi, the world’s largest manufacturer of heat-retaining fireplace, is letting the group build the bridge on private property it owns.

The “golden horn” bridge was designed by Da Vinci in 1502 for the sultan of Istanbul, and originally meant to built with stone.

At the time, though, people thought such a big span couldn’t be realized. However, in recent times the design has been studied closely, and a full-scale wood model based on the design was built in Norway.

Leonardo Da Vinci's original sketch for the Golden Horn Bridge. (Public Domain)
Leonardo Da Vinci’s original sketch for the Golden Horn Bridge. (Public Domain)


The ice bridge will span (35 meters), and be the biggest single-span structure in ice ever built.

To construct the bridge, the team has to reinforce the ice by “mixing cellulose fibers with water will result in an ice-composite, which will be 3 times stronger than plain ice, and even 20 times more ductile,” according to the group.

“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,” it said.

“After the big balloons are totally covered with ice, and the structure has enough strength to stand on its own, we deflate the balloon and remove them. The result will be the largest single-span structure in ice ever realized.”

The bridge is expected to be completed by February 13, at which point a two-ton car will roll across it to demonstrate its strength and safety. 

Around 900 tons of ice will be used in total.

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