• Define the Solution

Filippo Brunelleschi

Filippo Brunelleschi was probably the first modern engineer and a problem-solver using unorthodox methods. He solved one of the greatest architectural puzzles – the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore needed a dome but no one had ever built a self-supporting dome of that size before (the size of the space for the dome also suggested that scaffolding and other standard construction methods could not be used).

According to legend he helped win the commission by standing an egg up on end with no other support, when all his competitor’s eggs toppled over he banged his egg onto the table where it stood on its broken end. His competitors complained that his solution of breaking the egg was obvious, but he retorted by saying that is what they will say when they see how he built the dome without the use of classic scaffolding.

Brunelleschi eventually built the dome without using scaffolding using a complex process of new machinery, a two skinned dome structure; herringbone structured brickwork and chains embedded within the core dome structure.

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