BTW the Wed NYT had a large diagram of t Notre Dame Cathedral and gave a time line seris of all the repairs and additions through history. I think it was engineer who said that this place was futzed with since 1200 that its hardly a need to "restore it" to an original state cause there really wasnt one. Even the spire was a later addition and then was restored once before
It turned out that with the combination of the lead roof AND the way that many of the beams (In that cruciform shape that held up the spire), There was no way thy could ven get water in there to do some good UNTIL large parts of the lead roof melted away. Imagine a lead roof. Th roof alone weighed in at about 50 tons they said(Im checking that out it seems rather light for a dense material over such an area and almost 1/2 in thick plating).
Wood beams are still among the most durable material to maintain shape in large spans,(so long as they are kept dry and protected from fire).
so they suffered lead poisoning and bacterial illnesses. add some plague and we have a real paradise
I see that theyve raised an amount that could just about cover a rebuild of the spire and sanctuary roof-lines in 5 years. I hope they add those modern materials and incorporate fire sensors and lightning arrestors (another thing I heard they did NOT have)
Paris authorities have warned of very high lead levels on the ground immediately surrounding the fire-damaged Notre Dame cathedral but insisted there was no danger from breathing the air, after environmental groups likened the site to “toxic waste”.
The latter are preparing to step up pressure this week over the possible pollution danger from toxic metal particles from the cathedral fire. Campaign groups will hold a press conference on Friday to warn of their concerns about the danger from the combustion of lead in last month’s blaze which destroyed the Gothic cathedral’s roof, spreading lead-laden dust.
Paris police issued a statement on Thursday saying there was no risk of toxic inhalation from the air and that high lead levels found on the ground were limited to the area immediately surrounding the cathedral – which is currently closed to the public – and not further afield.
Hundreds of tons of lead were used in Notre Dame’s frame, as well as the church spire that burned and collapsed on 15 April in a blaze which is being treated as accidental. When the cathedral roof caught fire it led to the combustion of vast amounts of the metal.
The Paris police statement on Thursday said that on the surface of pavements and gardens immediately adjoining the cathedral, lead levels were found to be very high: between 32 and 65 times the recommended limit by French health authorities. The areas closest to the cathedral are currently closed. Lead levels are also high within the cathedral itself.
But the police said there was no sign of higher-than-normal lead levels on the ground in the wider neighbourhood around Notre Dame.
Shortly after the fire, the Paris police advised locals to clean surfaces with a damp cloth and pregnant women and children to wash hands frequently.
“With regard to homes or private premises, it is recommended that residents in the immediate vicinity of the Notre Dame proceed to clean their home or premises and their furniture and other items, using wet wipes to eliminate any dust,” police had said.
But the French environmental campaign group Robin des Bois has warned that about 300 tonnes of lead from the cathedral’s roof and steeple had melted in the blaze. “The cathedral has been reduced to the state of toxic waste,” the association said shortly after the fire, urging authorities to detoxify the tonnes of rubble, ash and wastewater produced in the disaster.
The group will on Friday reiterate its concerns over health risks from the blaze and possible contamination of the Seine.
Since the fire, the police have maintained that the threat from lead was limited, saying lead poisoning usually builds up over years of exposure. There have been no reports of acute lead poisoning since the blaze that destroyed the roof of the 850-year-old landmark.
Health authorities in Paris have urged children and pregnant women living around Notre Dame Cathedral to have the levels of lead in their blood checked amid concerns about the impact of the fire.
The innovation-obsessed president is at odds with most French people who would like a faithful restoration of the cathedral
To restore or to innovate? Ever since that terrible blaze laid waste to Notre Dame in April, the French nation has been divided between people who want to see the cathedral restored deliberately and precisely to its former glory, and those who prefer the view of the president, Emmanuel Macron, who vowed to “rebuild the Notre Dame so it is even more beautiful than it was”.
Macron, in his typically forceful, overambitious style, has also insisted that the cathedral will be back to its best “within five years”. “We are a people of builders,” Macron said the day after the fire. “We have so much to rebuild.”
But instead of being a unifying project, the vexed question of the restoration of the Notre Dame has become a metaphor for the battle between Macron’s modernising “startup nation” vision of France, and the large number of French citizens who don’t want anything to do with it. Some 1,169 architects, curators and professors signed an open letter to Macron, advising him to wait and to think this reconstruction through. “Let us take the time for a proper diagnosis,” stated the letter. “Listen to the experts, let’s recognise their knowledge, and then, yes, let’s fix an ambitious deadline for an exemplary restoration.”
And polls indicate that more than half the population want the cathedral back just how it was. Last month the French senate passed a bill saying that it should be restored to its appearance immediately before the fire. Yet Macron has approved an international contest for innovative architectural designs.
At the centre of the modernising row is the cathedral’s fallen spire. Designed and built by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1859 and 93 metres high, it was a neogothic masterpiece. As it caught fire and crashed through the roof, a cherished part of Notre Dame disappeared for ever.
When Macron declared that “a contemporary architectural gesture” would be an appropriate replacement following the announcement by the French prime minister, Édouard Philippe, of the competition to design it, a hashtag soon appeared on social media #TouchePasANotreDame (don’t touch Notre Dame). Raphaël Glucksmann, a centre-left writer and campaigner, said that anything other than a complete restoration would “destroy the soul of Notre Dame”. In a rare moment of political unity across the spectrum, far-right leader Marine Le Pen and the conservative luminary François-Xavier Bellamy agreed.
But the various proposals for something completely different are up and running. The architect Alexandre Chassang has proposed a Shard-like glass spire, which he shared on Twitter, adding: “We should not copy the past by mimicry.” Whatever is decided, the works at Notre Dame will be a restoration of a Unesco world heritage-listed monument, an operation that must therefore conform with a 1913 law on monuments that limits new additions to such structures.
Rebuilding the cathedral with time and caution could be the opportunity for a once-in-a-generation project, reconstructing both interior and exterior using traditional woodworking and architectural expertise. Many monuments of the country’s heritage are in dire need of restoration work, too, and Notre Dame could have opened a wider debate in protecting French historical sites. Macron’s vision of grand contests and impossible deadlines for the completion of the scheme simply shines a light on the poor management abilities behind his showmanship.
But I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies. At least the Notre Dame escaped a rebranding exercise based on the families and businesses who donated the most money: there will be no cathedral Notre Dame de L’Oréal. At least not for now.