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  #1  
Unread 04-15-2019, 05:14 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Default Notre Dame

Great tragedy today; thankfully they have saved the towers, but only after a great deal of damage...
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Unread 04-15-2019, 05:45 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Yup, the rose windows are damaged and the spire is gone.
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Unread 04-15-2019, 05:48 PM
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Michael F Michael F is offline
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So very sad.

You forget how much combustible material there is in those old stone cathedrals, particularly the roofs. I haven't seen much (any?) collapse of the stone "bones", which makes me hope it can be restored.
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Unread 04-15-2019, 06:45 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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York Minster lost their entire roof a couple of decades ago.
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Unread 04-15-2019, 07:19 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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It's heartbreaking to hear the crowds singing hymns.

No reports of lives lost, yet. One seriously injured firefighter, though. Could have been much, much worse, had the fire happened the day before, when the place was presumably packed with Palm Sunday celebrants.

Regarding the spire, I was thinking of these lines from the Édith Piaf song, "Notre Dame de Paris":

Quote:
La vieille flèche
Qui lèche
Le plafond gris de Paris

The old spire
That licks
The gray ceiling of Paris
Aw.

The spire was actually fairly new-fangled, as such things go--only about 150 years old. Like many of the gargoyles, it was part of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc's 19th-century restoration, which many architectural critics decried as faux-Gothic at the time. (A few years ago, when I found out that I would finally, after decades of studying French, have the opportunity to visit France, I read a Spanish critic's colorful comments about that restoration. Maybe I'll translate them. Not this week though--my parish music director quit a few weeks ago, and I've got a lot of extra cantoring to do.)

A replica of the spire can be built. But much--including the carved and painted wooden panels that I loved in the altar area--was irreplaceable. And the real challenge will be rebuilding the many layers of structure that any rebuilt spire would need to stand on. Including the structural stuff under the main floor of the cathedral itself. I have to presume that was damaged, if not completely destroyed.

There's still concern about the walls falling in. Remove the keystone of an arch, and the whole structure is less stable. The stone walls weren't just unsupported like that when they were erected. There was wooden bracing holding everything in place until the roof could be put in to stabilize things. Now, not only is the roof gone, the structure under the main floor is probably very iffy now, too.

Very good news about the towers being saved. It was already disturbingly reminiscent of 9-11, even without the towers falling.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 04-16-2019 at 09:06 AM. Reason: complaints --> comments; they're more positive than I remembered
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Unread 04-15-2019, 09:26 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Apparently a lot of the stone vaulting is gone. In which case the walls are not supported internally. But it sounds like imminent collapse has been averted by the hard, skilled, courageous work of the firefighters. The bells have not brought down the towers.
For those interested, the relics seem all to have been saved (the Crown of Thorns). I fear for the rose windows though.
One company has already pledged 100 million euros for rebuilding. There should be funds, FWIW.

John
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Unread 04-15-2019, 10:55 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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I would recommend using aluminum or some alloy instead of wood in its restoration. An Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Sitka, Alaska that burned down not too long ago was restored using concrete in place of wood. When I visited Sitka recently afterward, it looked exactly as it did in my mother’s painting and my father’s photographs that were taken when he was stationed there before the fire.
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Unread 04-16-2019, 02:16 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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[Moved to the Translation Board. More appropriate there.]

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 04-16-2019 at 11:51 AM.
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Unread 04-16-2019, 05:18 AM
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Michael F Michael F is offline
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It does seem this morning that 'the worst was avoided', and that Notre Dame will be rebuilt.

In my first five minutes on the intertubes, I saw three attempts to determine (or over-determine) the event. This one I thought might be of interest to several of you on this thread. Apologies for the paywall, but you get ten free reads etc etc etc.
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Unread 04-16-2019, 08:07 AM
Michael Juster Michael Juster is offline
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I just posted a piece on Twitter (@amjuster) explaining how the French planned for disaster after the last major restoration in the 19th century by planting a grove of oaks at Versailles that were intended to replace the ones that we have lost. The wood is the perfect age now to replace the lost timbers.
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