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Cathedral Collapse Crushes Congregants

This is the third post of seven, each a response to Kate Shrewsday’s request for an itinerary of MTM’s Seven Architectural Wonders. Each text post has a corollary visual post; the text and image posts will alternate between the blogs of Kate Shrewsday and the Andra Watkins. Since I (MTM) am no longer a paid pedant, I will try to make these as entertaining and enlightening as possible in 600 words or less. One ground rule: I cannot include a work of architecture I have not experienced directly and personally, just as one’s list of Great Books should not include a book one hasn’t yet read.

To read the text for this third post please click here!

The Cathedral of Saint Peter of Beauvais

The soaring nave: height, slight, and bright

The vaulted ceiling floats, as if tied down by stone tendrils

Contemporary structural analysis used in the attempt to save the Cathedral

Today’s trusses and buttresses to stabilize it

The tower basically dropped through the ceiling

A drawing of what it looked like before the collapse

30 Comments Post a comment
  1. Loved the text on this, MTM: an Orson Welles approach, with a news report which makes this collapse seem as immediate as yesterday. Fascinating history and something I might be able to see sooner rather than later. Cathedrals never fail to amaze and awe me. Your pictures are stunning.

    September 7, 2012
    • mtm #

      I was most proud of the headline.

      September 7, 2012
      • C… C….C….C we all cheer for C.

        September 7, 2012
  2. it is beautiful

    Can it be saved without the braces forever?

    September 7, 2012
    • mtm #

      I believe the World Monuments Fund is working on a long-term stabilization plan.

      September 7, 2012
  3. Zara #

    wow, these images, and the building are amazing! These type of buildings are the ones I like most because of the detail.

    September 7, 2012
    • mtm #

      The detail is great, but the best cathedrals provide an experience that is more ephemeral than mere stone and mortar.

      September 7, 2012
  4. Dramatic report and wonderful images. What an incredible building. I’m on the way to being converted – to your 7 Wonders, that is:)

    September 7, 2012
    • mtm #

      Many have accused us architects of seeing our work religiously….I’m not sure I can refute that.

      September 7, 2012
  5. So the wonder of this cathedral is that it is still standing?

    September 7, 2012
    • mtm #

      The wonder of everything is that it endures in the face of forces designed to destroy.

      September 7, 2012
  6. Wow. Fascinating how the images of her bones are just as attractive as those of her outside.

    September 7, 2012
    • mtm #

      Hmm. Architecture as anorexia?

      September 7, 2012
      • Well, I certainly have seen some building that looked like they were starving. And a few that looked over-stuffed!

        September 10, 2012
  7. Is there an after drawing just to compare how much height was lost? I can’t believe how much support it needs just to carry the weight of all that stone now.

    September 7, 2012
    • mtm #

      The aerial photo probably gives the best sense of it…basically the tower dropped straight down through the roof. The dark square structure of the crossing ceiling was put up in its place…in wood, just to be safe, I suppose.

      September 7, 2012
  8. Great photos and quite the story!

    September 7, 2012
    • mtm #

      Thank you, Howard.

      September 7, 2012
  9. It must have indeed seemed like the end of the world…. My reaction to Gothic always surprises me. All those bones, so skeletal, but then that lightness, and damn if it isn’t ambitious stuff, to reach for heaven quite like that.

    September 7, 2012
    • mtm #

      I am not sure that there will ever be a time in history where architecture will have the preeminence it had in the Gothic era. But that is a story for another day, like…tomorrow!

      September 7, 2012
      • Cool, we’re going Goth to celebrate the Man in Black.

        September 7, 2012
  10. Sometimes I check out the photos first . . . other times the words you carefully craft to describe collapsing cathedrals and crushed congregants.

    Today . . . wondrous words before artiful artifacts. :D

    September 7, 2012
  11. Magnificent. What a shame its construction didn’t match the aspirations of its designers.

    September 8, 2012
  12. I honestly have never seen anything like this! Beyond stunning! Debra

    September 9, 2012
  13. OMG! Beautiful.

    September 10, 2012
  14. One word – squish!

    September 10, 2012
  15. Stunning images!

    September 12, 2012

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  1. Thanks for the Wonders « Kate Shrewsday

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