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Paris: Catastrophe et Tristesse!

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Miracles that no one so far has been killed!

One of the most important and iconic landmarks of Western Culture and Catholic Authority has ended its 850 year reign in a devastating fire, burning uncontrolled since last night. When the wood structure is lost, the roofs and walls collapse.

586



There are now 400 firemen fighting to save what remains.

Replacing such a structure would be an immense task that could be divisive in France and unifying in Europe. It will test to core the remnants of a hollowed out once uniformly Catholic France, the embattled Macron and the Pope, (already putting out the fires of clerical abuse and the attempt at a Christian Spring from the grass roots of the Church).

This is the time of year with so much pious and celebratory ceremony in the Catholic Religion, that the loss to Christendom is tragic and unfathomable.

The loss to the rest of us is that of a unifying beloved symbolic treasure of man’s search for higher values, the promise of better society and for helping fellow man have hope.

We all pray for the safety of the firemen and other first responders.

At this time, no matter our faith we are all steadfast brothers and sisters, Parisians and Frenchmen, joined in tragic loss but united in faith, reason & the inherent love of one person to another.

Asher
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
Indeed,
I would say that Notre Dame, in France, is much more than a catholic icon, thanks to writers (amongst and in principal Victor Hugo) made this monument a French Tresaury that most of the French are proud of (even me the atheist).
So I don't think it will divide the French people, might be on the contrary!
Macron said yesterday night that we will rebuilt Notre Dame completely… that, as the President, is his role (and a welcome moment of politically reunification for him)

Look at some "1st page" of newspapers in the world
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
The fire is extinguished, the structure did not collapse, except a small part of the roof where the spire fell.

The roof framework is lost. Here are pictures of the roof internals before the fire: http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/la-cathedrale/architecture/la-charpente/
There are also historical models available, here for the spire: http://parismuseescollections.paris.fr/fr/musee-carnavalet/oeuvres/charpente-de-la-fleche-de-la-cathedrale-notre-dame-de-paris#infos-principales

The windows and organs may have suffered from the heat.

Images from inside here: https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/entry/notre-dame-de-paris-les-images-de-linterieur-de-la-cathedrale-apres-lincendie_fr_5cb5075ee4b098b9a2d8b5fe
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Nicolas and Jerome,

It’s a huge shock to Western Civilization. We cannot take anything for granted.

I think this could eadily be a a $1.2 billion project, if done properly!

The rebuilding of a 12th century 1/2 burnt wood and stone structure, (already in severe danger of collapse), is monumental. Fortunately, France is very advanced in structural engineering. This task is a challenge easilly as hard as the first landing on the moon.

When a building has decayed gargoyle faces and loose stone decorations, they can either be ignored or brought down and stored pending some (imaginary and hoped for), restoration.

Remember that, even before this fire, news reported interviews with Cathedral experts that because of decay, without some urgent 150 million Euro core structural repairs, the building could begin to fall within a decade!

But now, this tragedy will require geological studies, evaluation of every stone in the giant underground ancient crypts and spaces. They might need to X-ray certain segments, demolish unsafe areas, reinforce others even before a formal solution is found.

Don’t imagine one can think of remaining stone being salvageable. Some of the Stone has suffered heat damage and its structure is no longer secure and reliable as the original rock. In addition, superheated stone flooded with water cause multiple segmentation fractures. Furthermore, the timber of the original lengths are no longer available. Still there are skilled gothic architecture restorers in England, France, Italy and the USA. It will need artists and artisans of old trades that we thought were only in history books: glazers, leaded glass workers, armies of stone masons and Cathedral timber workers, all who will be reinvigorated with new trainees for this international cultural edifice. It will support a kind of rebirth of the arts which without projects, gets lost!

This massive enterprise will demand several years intense study before they can even build a virtual computer model to then have several engineering contractors develop alternative sets of solutions.

Meanwhile teams of curators and restoration specialists will be needed to catalog and assess the rescued artifacts.

But now what should be done?

Would anyone be brave enough to build for the 21st Century without the gargoyles, just as the architectural glass pyramid brought the Louvre up to date without harming its reverent position in world class museums.

I imagine a new Cathedral with an even more magnificent roof and spire built of glass and titanium!

Asher
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Well, we will see.

When an old religious building is treasured and enjoyed, it seems that heaven will protect it, no matter what the engineers say. However, once there is damage, the laws of the 12th Century no longer apply.

Everything in the building will now have to meet French National as well as Parisian building safety standards. Structural engineering now has to be an arbiter of decisions that would normally be likely taken by clerics and a local city functionary. No engineer today worth his salt is going to plan without a complete structural and geological map of the subterranean extensions of the building. That’s what modern building require. What was acceptable for 850 years might not count today as no firm will take risks that would destroy their reputation if some untoward crack occurred 10 years down the road!

Every engineer and inspector will take the strictest view as what has to be removed and what is solid and safe. Any new reinforcements will require test setups and then will need to be checked by specialists that didn’t exist when the Cathedral was first imagined!

This project is more difficult than Coventary Cathedral, as that had only a few fragmentary remaining original walls. The Cathedral at the Queens residence was mostly intact so it’s easier to justify trusting many existing structures.

The complexity of the rebuilding will increase with each review and demand from the City inspectors to meet minimum 2019 standards and regulations. They will likely demand that building should be able to withstand the worst earthquake likely to happen in the next 200 years. A building of this international stature, today, might be put on giant rollers on a rail system like the Los Angeles Cathedral designed to survive at least 400 years.

Although Paris doesn’t suffer from a San Andreas geological fault, the inspectors will likely demand structural protection against what ever the worst possible earthquake force, (that could statistically occur), based on the historical record and regional geology. France does get devastating earthquakes about once in 200-400 years.

Still Metropolitan France could get at least a 6.0 earthquake in the next 150-200 years, (my best guess). So French engineers will perhaps assume the Cathedral has to withstand something like a 7.0 event. Who knows, but in France, all the scholarship and technical capability and prowess is ready for the task. This is not merely “fixing up an old stone structure” with limited destruction and partial roof cave in.

Instead, this is a project of preserving French character and endurance for another thousand years!

So I have not exaggerated the scope of this project!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
My guess of $1.2 billion appears to fit in with the flow rate of donations. But, if we can assume that the donors, so far, are “experts at assigning wealth”, I may have greatly underestimated what rich institutions with expert evaluators considered “necessary”.

So far here’s the donor landscape:

“But by Tuesday morning, companies had already started pledging money to help rebuild the cathedral. More than $600 million has been pledged from companies including L'Oréal and from people such as LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, who is the richest person in France and the third-richest person in the world.

It's unclear how much Apple plans to donate to assist in the rebuilding efforts; the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.”

We must add to that a commitment of likely ~$200 million from the USA and an unknown amount from Apple, but probably a guess of $200 million would seem a minimum.

That means we’re at $1.0 billion as present!


That could of course be a race to public notice and a kind of financial “repentance”.

But in practical terms of the best expert monetary decisions made with experienced investors, it could be that they think, from their “behind-the-scenes” assessment is a cost way north of my initial $1.2 billion!

I am usually guessing too low, (by multiples of 2-3), LOL.

So it must be that at the very least my estimate of the task is not exaggerated!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Now we are getting a better idea of what lies ahead.

The principal issue now is assessing safety and organizing emergency procedures that are needed to prevent any further catastrophic destruction.

1. A massive temporary covering to prevent more water coming in from rain.

2. Support to the stone roof that remains without its timber weight supporting structure

3. Pumping out millions of gallons of water from the limestone crypts below the building.

4. Moving the air and taking measure to stop fungus and molds growing in the limestone

5. Scaffolding to support walls.

6. Curators to plan for salvage approaches to art and windows

7. Ground radar and ultrasound to map structure below ground.

8. Determination of structural integrity of every single block as it’s own entity.

9. Creating a 3 D heat map and using soot marks and evidence of surface damage and internal fractures and heat calcination and examination of sufficient samples of stones at different distances from edge of max heat to start to create a model outside of which, stones are likely to be undamaged. This model will be continually updated over the next 2 years.

10. Create draft plans for safety measures to be instituted in next 6 months and 2 years to stabilize the areas that can be maintained.

11. Create data set to be distributed to scores stakeholders and experts for input of ideas for what the design and scope of functions and amenities would be included to have Cathedral last another 1,000 years.

As a bonus, if the extensive. experienced and proven skill-set from the successful gothic restorations in both York Minster Cathedral and Westminster Cathedral are brought to the Notre Dame project, much of the tension of the Brexit struggles between the UK and the Common Market could be relieved!

I believe that France might no longer allow an arms length approach between what the Vatican normally does with its buildings in the vision of Notre Dame going forward.

As far as France is concerned, Notre Dame is now more French and European than simply a church to be managed by Rome!


Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Notre-Dame, like all French cathedrals, is not managed by Rome but is property of the French state since 1905: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1905_French_law_on_the_Separation_of_the_Churches_and_the_State

President Emanuel Macron is planning to reopen the cathedral within 5 years. That would be right in time for the Paris Olympic in 2024.

We don't know yet, but if decision is taken to redo the roof in short time, a more modern roof structure may be chosen. This was the case in Reims, the roof burnt in 1914 and was reconstructed between 1920 and 1927 using concrete:
https://www.france24.com/fr/20190417-notre-dame-reims-exemple-reconstruction-beton
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I doubt they will use concrete as there have been remarkable failures with concrete in restoration of Gothic structures.

I admit being surprised by the use of prefab concrete in the famous Reims restoration, as this has been given as a prime example of using original stone and timber crafts!

As to the Notre Dame repair, its in a totally different class today. There would not be a billion dollars of donations for just some simple doable Reims solution to the repair!

This is going to be a major and total renovation that will exploit everything known about the building and bring in facilities that have never been imagined, as this disaster has released an eruption of inspiration and French pride, to develop something even more exceptional than what was lost.

A news quote: “Macron's comment suggested he would like the restoration to be completed by the time Paris hosts the Olympic Games in 2024, AFP noted. But heritage expert Stéphane Bern said that the full restoration could "take a minimum of 10 to 20 years.

“Bear in mind that this kind of work on the Cathedral of Reims took 40 years,” he said, Libération reported.

So, there is an excellent parallel to the tsunami that hit Fukushima, but here, not because of company businessmen taking shortcuts, but because of an uprising of pride for the nature of the French soul embodied in a building that has been at the center of Parisian life for 850 years!

It’s now a tsunami of support for the rebirth of the Cathedral.

This means it will be the most thorough, technically advanced and total rethinking of every part of the ancient Cathedral and what it can provide for the next 1,000 years

In the process, unlike in the failed roof and spire renovation, the Vatican will have a diminished role as this project.

Furthermore, like building a new fighter jet, competition and conflict will be the cauldron where new ideas will be fashioned, tested and matured.

Then for implementation, an insistence on stringent engineering standards never before applied to a civic project and certainly not a Gothic reconstruction.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
In short, this task could become the most ambitious and well thought out, popular, cultural mega project, embodying the will and aspirations of almost the entire European civilization in perhaps 1000 years!

Amazingly, that fact that it’s clearly Christian and of one denomination is now relatively unimportant. This building now represents Ravel, Richelieu and Rousseau as equally as Dumas, Degas, Descartes, Pasteur, Piaf, Picasso, and even Satre!

Asher
 

Wolfgang Plattner

Active member
... Amazingly, that fact that it’s clearly Christian and of one denomination is now relatively unimportant. This building now represents Ravel, Richelieu and Rousseau as equally as Dumas, Degas, Descartes, Pasteur, Piaf, Picasso, and even Satre!
No. It doesn't. It represents what may be possible because of religious egoism, religious enthusiasm and of pressure.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
No. It doesn't. It represents what may be possible because of religious egoism, religious enthusiasm and of pressure.
  • Religious egoism
  • Religious enthusiasm
  • Pressure
That is an interesting triad, Wolfgang! I saw a similar set of 3 conditions required of an artist making a “Masterpiece by a fellow called, Connolly. I will search for it!

.....Found it!

Well in today’s UK “The Times”, William Clark wrote:

“In "The Unquiet Grave" Cyril Connolly puts forward the case that the three requisites for a masterpiece are "Validity of the myth, the vigour of belief and the intensity of vocation." I doubt that any modern architect in this secular, anti-christian age could ever, therefore, contribute anything positive to such a spiritually uplifting building.”

So we have:

  • Validity of the Myth
  • Vigour of belief
  • Intensity of Vocation
These seem pretty similar to your triad!

Asher
 
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Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
In short, this task could become the most ambitious and well thought out, popular, cultural mega project, embodying the will and aspirations of almost the entire European civilization in perhaps 1000 years!

Amazingly, that fact that it’s clearly Christian and of one denomination is now relatively unimportant. This building now represents Ravel, Richelieu and Rousseau as equally as Dumas, Degas, Descartes, Pasteur, Piaf, Picasso, and even Le Pen and Satre!

Asher
You forgot the masterpiece written by Victor Hugo!
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Of course he is there, Nicolas, or else the Hunchback would be unknown.

My list of French personages is meant to cover the spectrum of associations of those of us who are not Catholic, who nevertheless are rooting for the edifice to be reconstituted. If I am correct, most supporters do so, not for religious reasons but for love of French culture embodied in this structure.

We even do not question, justify, analyze any deeds, philosophies, history or acts of the French Church. We leave that for those seeking rationalism and justice.

Here that’s not quest. It’s simply that Notre Dame is part of the magnificent and complex legacy of all the writers, scientists, philosophers, those imprisoned, those set free, those exiled and those celebrated in triumph as France pulled itself on a road to reaching, for itself, the ancient understanding of the pagan, Aristotle, that man has inherent dignity and worth!


Asher
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
Of course he is there, Nicolas, or else the Hunchback would be unknown.

My list of French personages is meant to cover the spectrum of associations of those of us who are not Catholic, who nevertheless are rooting for the edifice to be reconstituted. If I am correct, most supporters do so, not for religious reasons but for love of French culture embodied in this structure.

We even do not question, justify, analyze any deeds, philosophies, history or acts of the French Church. We leave that for those seeking rationalism and justice.

Here that’s not quest. It’s simply that Notre Dame is part of the magnificent and complex legacy of all the writers, scientists, philosophers, those imprisoned, those set free, those exiled and those celebrated in triumph as France pulled itself on a road to reaching, for itself, the ancient understanding of the pagan, Aristotle, that man has inherent dignity and worth!


Asher
Then you can delete Le Pen, for many reasons… including that all that tribe is catholic…
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Is it true that, for France Notre Dame is such a strong national symbol that fierce debates will occur as religious Catholics might look to just the sacredness and want simple repair?


Those who simply love France and its culture, might demand it be considered more a National Monument “living” and therefore represent the very best of all France, so the repair will ADD beauty and make the building representative of the cutting edge of French creativity, openness to strangers, equality and advanced technology.

So for example I can imagine daring magnificent new glass or excluding symbols which divide people.

If I am right, how will France deal strong wills and wishes and direct everything to one integrated plan?

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
This thread is getting out of hand.

Fact is that Europe has hundreds of cathedrals of similar religious and cultural significance. Statistically, a few of these suffer a major disaster every century or so.

As to the recent fire in Paris Notre-Dame, it was spectacular but the structure is largely untouched. It seems that the needed repairs are comparatively minor.

Now, because of an extraordinary concourse of circumstances, because the monument was the subject of several movies and even computer games and because the collapse of the spire was followed live on TV, the general public is overreacting. That also explains why billionaires in desperate need of not appearing like the scrooges that they are pledged about 10 times more money that would be needed for the repairs.

Conversely, monuments of similar religious and historical significance were recently burnt down in the middle east and nobody lifted a single finger. How sad.

Don't misread me: I am entirely in favour of repairing the roof of Paris Notre-Dame. That certainly makes sense, if only because it is a major cultural artefact. But, please save me the hysteria in the news and everywhere else. Thank you.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
This thread is getting out of hand.

Fact is that Europe has hundreds of cathedrals of similar religious and cultural significance. Statistically, a few of these suffer a major disaster every century or so.

As to the recent fire in Paris Notre-Dame, it was spectacular but the structure is largely untouched. It seems that the needed repairs are comparatively minor.

Now, because of an extraordinary concourse of circumstances, because the monument was the subject of several movies and even computer games and because the collapse of the spire was followed live on TV, the general public is overreacting. That also explains why billionaires in desperate need of not appearing like the scrooges that they are pledged about 10 times more money that would be needed for the repairs.

Conversely, monuments of similar religious and historical significance were recently burnt down in the middle east and nobody lifted a single finger. How sad.

Don't misread me: I am entirely in favour of repairing the roof of Paris Notre-Dame. That certainly makes sense, if only because it is a major cultural artefact. But, please save me the hysteria in the news and everywhere else. Thank you.
Of course, you’re right, Jerome!

The reaction is an exageration but it’s damn real, nevertheless! Once it became a matter of State, and millions of gallons of water to pump out of the underground absorbent limestone vaults, it’s a job for nationally supervised geological and structural experts who will make a 5 million job to a 20 million job for that alone!

Officialdom and high minded, risk averse inspectors will conjure needs and regulations to be met tobe poured into every junction in surveying, planning arguing and resolving conjured up and real concerns.

The basic circus razzmatazz is already alive and will grown in force disorder and crested needs and costs, forcwhichvthere is no conceivable limit as folk want to buy into posterity!

It’s driven in part by the selective self-publicizing grandiose generosity, but this phenomenon has already lead to great effects here in the USA.

In a major echo, hithertofore, totally ignored black burnt-out congregations suddenly getting righteous donations to rebuild!


The fact is, in the public mind, Notre Dame is the Madonna, De Gaulle and Elvis of Cathedrals blessed by a mass extend unction meme.... like “Trump saving America back on the road of Christ”, as our Vp informs us.

It is an irrational but powerfully movement that will eat up several billion dollars over the next 10-20 years. It will be milked for every centime!

I never said it was “fair” just that it’s a gigantic tsunami of bluster and religion and fantasy which will have traction and suck up the finest minds in design and construction as if was the monument of French achievement to be alive in 1000 years time

Asher
 
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