Re: GESO Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.

Bob Pdml pdmlbw at gmail.com
Mon Apr 22 13:20:58 EDT 2019


One could argue that the nature of "old growth" forests arises to quite a large degree from the fact of dead stuff rotting where it fell, rather than being removed. So if we remove the dead trees we change the forest fundamentally. 

Does the historical accuracy of our buildings take precedence over such important (to us) parts of the natural environment?

Buildings such as Notre Dame are like living creatures, constantly renewed. I recently saw ND described as a palimpsest. I have no particular problem with good quality, sympathetic repair (ie not necessarily restoration, and not pastiche) since we are part of tradition and the life and history of the building. I do think it's important to make sure that whatever we do can be cleanly removed later, if necessary, without further damaging the building, in case we get things wrong.

It's a different situation for other buildings which are already dead, but that we want to keep, such as ruins. In their case I think our duty is to stabilise them and prevent them falling into further disrepair.




> On 22 Apr 2019, at 16:31, John <jsessoms002 at nc.rr.com> wrote:
> 
> Oddly enough, North America - at least the part of it covered by the U.S. has more forested acreage today than it did when English colonists arrived in the 17th century.
> 
> Only a small fraction of that could be considered "old growth", but some does exist. It does seem shameful not to recover the timber from such fallen trees.
> 
> On 4/21/2019 15:36:26, P. J. Alling wrote:
>>> There's the 64 million dollar question.  Even if such wood exists today, the owner is unlikely to be willing to allow it to be harvested.
>> It's worse than that actually.
>> A few years ago, one of the last "untouched" Oak groves in New England had several trees in the 400 to 500 year age group toppled by high winds during a Hurricane.  The trees were, well to put it bluntly, dead.  An historical preservation group wanted to harvest the wood to do some restoration work on a number of historic wooden vessels, the USS Constitution in particular, needed old oak of the proper shape to make new parts.
>> The Conservation group that owned the property, would hear nothing of that, and, decided that the wood should be left to decay naturally...
>> There are a number of problems with this not the least of which is there hasn't been a truly natural, untouched by the hand of man, forest in New England for at least 5 thousand years.
>> The natives practicing slash and burn agriculture after all, and the later settlers managing the forests for their own purposes after that.
>> In fact the demise of the Passenger Pigeon alone modified the Northeastern forests so that they can no longer be returned to their original state.
>> Yet, the wood rotted in the forest none the less.
>>> On 4/21/2019 3:46 AM, mike wilson wrote:
>>> There's the 64 million dollar question.  Even if such wood exists today, the owner is unlikely to be willing to allow it to be harvested.
>>> 
>>> ND is in an unusual (but not unique) position - it's a historical artefact that can still function for its intended purpose.  It therefore behoves us as its temporary guardians to inflict as little change as possible.  How that's going to be done is the interesting question.  Windsor castle showed that restoration is possible on a smaller scale.  Not least because this is unlikely to be the only instance, larger scale work needs a game plan.  Nelson planted a tree for every one he harvested - that's the sort of forward thinking that needs to be done right now.  I'm not confident.
>>> 
>>>> On 21 April 2019 at 00:30 John <jsessoms002 at nc.rr.com> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> In that case, where are they going to get the timbers they're going to need?
>>>> 
>>>> Seems to me the "wasn't done that way when ND was constructed" argument is going
>>>> to apply to anything they might be able to do today, which means they're left
>>>> trying to find the least historically incorrect way of rebuilding.
>>>> 
>>>>> On 4/20/2019 02:28:20, mike wilson wrote:
>>>>> Glulam falls down (possibly literally) in the jointing.  The whole point of using green oak is that the joints tighten up as the wood seasons in the building, reducing to neglibility the need for joint maintenance.  The system works, as can be seen in the large number of buildings that are approaching a millenium in age.  In contrast, the oldest glulam building is not even 200 years old.  The biggest argument against it, however, is that it wasn't done that way when ND was constructed.
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On 19 April 2019 at 04:49 John <jsessoms002 at nc.rr.com> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glued_laminated_timber
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> On 4/18/2019 03:46:33, Bob Pdml wrote:
>>>>>>>> I expect the oak will be replaced with some kind of engineered wood beams.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> That would be the architectural equivalent of this:
>>>>>>> https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19349921
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> On the other hand it was the French who gave us post-modernism and a love of fragmentation and the simulacrum, so perhaps it's not a bad idea.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Apparently a US researcher recently laser-scanned the whole thing, so maybe we could just 3D-print a new one, in resin made from harvested ocean plastic.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/future-of-notre-dame
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> B
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> On 18 Apr 2019, at 01:00, John <jsessoms002 at nc.rr.com> wrote:
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> It took 182 years to build it the first time, so if it takes longer than 5 years for the repairs that's not such a big deal.
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> Carpenters can be trained. If it takes 40 years to rebuild it, that's a career.
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> The oak might be another problem, but I expect the oak will be replaced with some kind of engineered wood beams. Nor will it surprise me if there's a lot of international support for the reconstruction.
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> On 4/17/2019 13:52:11, Bob Pdml wrote:
>>>>>>>>> French people are saying 'typical Macron, promising something when he has no idea whether it is possible or not'. One article i read suggests that it will take up to 40 years. The bishop has already said it will be closed for at least 5 or 6.
>>>>>>>>> One of the problems is that there aren't enough oak trees or carpenters with the right skills
>>>>>>>>>> On 17 Apr 2019, at 17:52, Paul Stenquist <pnstenquist at comcast.net> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> Thanks to all who commented or had a look. In the hours since this tragedy it’s become obvious that the cathedral can be restored. I will take year -- Macron says 5 years — but it will be worth the wait.
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> On Apr 16, 2019, at 3:12 PM, Paul Stenquist <pnstenquist at comcast.net> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>>> I’m catholic only by birth not by practice, but watching Notre Dame burn last night was crushing. I immediately recalled how I was overwhelmed by the majesty and history of this ancient cathedral when I visited it on a spring afternoon in 2003. Extending a business trip by a day, I wandered the streets of Paris with my Leica iiif RD and Summicron 50/2 Collapsible, alternately shooting tribute-x and Portra 400. I had the color neg film loaded when I stopped in the cathedral and captured a few images as best I could, given the faded mirror of my Leica and the dim lighting. Yesterday, I wondered what had become of those images. I found an envelope that contained the negatives and camera store prints and scanned a few of the negatives. Today, I assembled a small gallery. https://www.photo.net/gallery/1109648#//Sort-Newest/All-Categories/All-Time/Page-1 
> 
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