Design Engineering
da Vinci Philly U Project Zach Samalonis, Charles Barilo and Peter Holderith/behance.net

Pictured is the project designed by Philadelphia University students Zach Samalonis, Charles Barilo and Peter Holderith, who were asked to recreate a painting of the Grand Canyon as a machine.

February 16, 2017

Philly college students combine art, geography and motion to recreate Grand Canyon

Among Leonardo da Vinci's seven principles of innovation is the combination of art and science, or "whole brain thinking." As Benedictine University's website explains it, "Imagination without logic is day dreaming, and logic without imagination is boring."

This idea comes to life in a recent project from three Philadelphia University students, who were asked to pick a painting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and develop it into a machine using da Vinci's principles.

The freshman students — Charles Barilo, Peter Holderith and Zachary Samalonis — picked "Grand Canyon of the Colorado River" by Thomas Moran. As they explained on their website, the trio was "inspired by the depth in the painting as well as the underlying tone of exploration in the painting."

NonePhiladelphia Museum of Art/Source

'Grand Canyon of the Colorado River' by Thomas Moran.

After picking a spot on the map of the canyon, they used Adobe Illustrator and laser cutting to recreate it as a 3-D map that can either lie flat or be raised up through vertical motion to mimic the topography of the canyon.

In the finished product, turning the gears allows "the map to slowly reveal itself," the students wrote. In the videos below, you can view the process they went through to create the project as well as the finished product.



(h/t, New Atlas)