The Wooden Roofs of Leonardo and New Structural Research


The two types of spatial patterns reproduced in the Codex Altanticus fol. 899v can be deciphered in light of recent studies on reciprocal and tensegrity frames. For the construction of his wooden component roofs, Leonardo utilized two main modules: a grid of square modules and a grid of a tri/hexagonal module. Leonardo’s drawings offer an opportunity to attempt a synthesis between the two structural systems, demonstrating the affinity that exists between the reciprocal frames used by Leonardo and the rigid tensegrities developed by Fuller. The continual observation, study and construction of models have permitted the verification of this hypothesis.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Biagio Di Carlo.

About this article

Cite this article

Di Carlo, B. The Wooden Roofs of Leonardo and New Structural Research. Nexus Netw J 10, 27–38 (2008).

Download citation


  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • reciprocal frames
  • deresonated tensegrity
  • geodesic domes
  • Buckminster Fuller
  • tensegrity
  • polyhedra