Leonardo da Vinci's Sketches of Structurally Reciprocal Designs


These sketches show some of Leonardo da Vinci’s designs that could be incorporated into roofs, domes, or other structures. Unlike most other architectural designs during da Vinci’s time, these designs contained complex patterns of reciprocating structures; as a result, da Vinci claims for one design that “the arch stays without any force at all.” Though not put into practice, these designs illustrate da Vinci’s role as a visionary engineer and architect who was unafraid to break away from the status quo - as also evidenced by his design for a self-supporting arched bridge. They were a part of the Codex Atlanticus, a twelve-volume bound set of da Vinci’s work in science, engineering, music, and architecture from 1478 to 1519 that is preserved in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan.


Codex Atlanticus. (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2019, from http://www.turismo.milano.it/wps/portal/tur/en/arteecultura/capolavorieo...

Williams, K. (2008). Transcription and Translation of Codex Atlanticus, fol. 899 v. Nexus Network Journal, 10(1), 13-16. Retrieved May 16, 2019, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00004-007-0052-z

Image from article by Williams cited above.

Associated Place(s)

Timeline of Events Associated with Leonardo da Vinci's Sketches of Structurally Reciprocal Designs


  • Leonardo da Vinci

Image Date: 

circa. 1478