Self-supporting wooden pedestrian bridge was inspired by Da Vinci

Inspired by a design for a self-supporting bridge attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci himself, architect Diego Poblete of the Federico Santa María Technical University in Chili developed a structure that can be assembled within 15 minutes, without using a single screw. The self-supporting wooden bridge is constructed using traditional carpentry joints, manufactured by an industrial robot.

The pedestrian bridge was designed by Poblete as a thesis project, and is based on a modular design that could be repeated over larger stretches. The construction can easily and quickly be assembled, without the need to use any screws or nails. Thanks to this construction, the bridge can also easily be disassembled when it is no longer needed, and reassembled elsewhere. The design was made with children’s journey to school in rural areas in mind, where paths are often interrupted by rivers or streams.

The principle of structural reciprocity on which the original design by Da Vinci is based was complemented by the design and machining of trapezoidal dovetail joints, to avoid displacement of the structural members. The bridge’s components are machined in wood by an industrial robot.

The prototype of the bridge is a walkway of 4 metres (13 feet) long and can hold a weight of up to 500 kilograms (1102 pounds).

Photos: Departamento de Arquitectura de la Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (via Archdaily)