Chronicles of a Young Wife: Mind Museum Special – Leonardo Da Vinci, An Aquatic Engineer

Da Vinci – An Aquatic Engineer

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As an engineer, I appreciate this part of the gallery most. Da Vinci lived in a place without advance plumbing system, hence, diseases due to water contamination and water pollution is rampant and on those days, medicines and vaccines aren’t a norm yet.

After Filarete’s project for Sforzinda, an ideal city in honor of Francesco Sforza, Leonardo, as well, was fascinated by the idea of planning a city as a formally complete organism. The waterways are as important as the streets, but “if you want this to have effect […] you must choose an appropriate site, for example, placing it next to a river that will provide you for canals …” Milan’s problem was the lack of a large river with a constant flow like the Ticino. Leonardo indicated this in his projects, possibly thinking of a new role for Vigevano, a city favored by Ludovico Il Moro. In order to avoid the violent floods of the river, Leonardo positioned his city at a certain distance and connected it by means of a “larger canal,” equipped with a lock: “when you close the door, the water will fill the lock and the low ships will rise and return to the general level of the city.” The complex network of canals designed by Leonardo provided a transportation system that was independent from the street network. The streets were planned on two levels, each independent from the other. “Wagons or other similar things ought not to go by the high streets, rather, those should be only for gentlemen; wagons and other loads for the use and convenience of the people ought to go by the low ones. […] Latrines, stalls, and such fetid things as these ought to be emptied onto the subterranean streets.” Because of the plague that infested Milan in 1484, Leonardo gave great importance to cleanliness and hygiene: he projected buildings with porticoes and broad streets where the air could freely circulate, noting “and further, it would be useful to clean the city frequently […]. And this ought to be done once a year,” as he was aware of the impact upon Milan when the canals went dry.La città ideale

photo and italics via

It presented the 15th century way of draining or pulling water from there to here. It even includes a submarine and a scuba-diver

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Different Kind of Water Vessel

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I now appreciate the convenience and safety of proper water supply and sewage system in relation to society’s general health and cleanliness. This is one of the most important achievement to human’s life.

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