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The collapse of 1284 at Beauvais Cathedral [pdf] (cultus.hk)
39 points by Phithagoras 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 15 comments

Here is a fascinating picture of Beauvais Cathedral which captures just how unfinished it is and which also shows (like a time-freeze) how these gothic cathedrals typically replaced older romanic churches:


If you are interested in the architecture and engineering of gothic cathedrals, I highly recommend the 2010 arte documentary "Cathedrals" - unfortunately, I was only able to find a German version:


If I remember correctly, it discusses the structural weaknesses of several cathedrals (including Beauvais).

I would also recommend "Britain's Great Cathedrals with Tony Robinson".


And anyone into church architecture should also watch "Churches: How to Read them", which I believe is on youtube.


Also PBS released "Building the great cathedrals"


Full-video: https://watchdocumentaries.com/building-the-great-cathedrals...

Too bad I wasn't able to find the english version of the OPs link in German. Looks good.

Some basic background from Wikipedia to save you the time:

> The Cathedral of Saint Peter of Beauvais is a Roman Catholic church in the northern town of Beauvais, Oise, France.

> From 1569 to 1573 the cathedral of Beauvais was, with its tower of 153 meters, the highest human construction of the world. Its designers had the ambition to make it the largest gothic cathedral in France ahead of Amiens.

> Victim of two collapses, one in the 13th century, the other in the 16th century, it remains unfinished today, only the choir and the transept have been built.


I wonder if they even measured the height in 1569. I'm sure that they could, but I don't know whether they cared about whether one building was a meter or two taller than some other building. I think they cared more about grandeur and the perceived awe rather than guinness-style records. Certainly many would have advertised themselves as being the tallest. To my knowledge there was no central book of such records. I wonder in which year was it determined that this cathedral held the record. Was it only centuries later when some architect student did a thesis?

They were certainly capable of measuring the height. The tools have been known since antiquity. They couldn't build something like this without them.

And they were definitely competing with each other to build the tallest and most spectacular cathedral. There wasn't an official record book, but the architects were always aware of who was claiming to be tallest. If they didn't want to take the claim for granted, it was easy enough to go measure it yourself.

Just for one example: Ulm Minster was specifically designed to be taller than the one at Cologne:


It's actually a little ungainly-looking for that. The tower is out of proportion to the rest of it.

It wasn't just cathedrals. They were doing the same things with bell towers. The Leaning Tower of Pisa doesn't need to be that tall -- and if they'd built a more reasonably-sized tower, it would have been more stable.

The important thing is it's 2021 and we're still doing the pissing contest of tallest building.

Hmm it ended ubruptly. It would be nice to continue reading the rest of the article or section.

Hi there, curious about the subject however I am not willing to download a pdf, as per recent revelations that adobe pdf has become a hacking vector. Any ability to add a url for web based content?

Firefox has included a viewer based on PDF.js since 2013:


No need to download to anything other than localstorage.

There have been a half dozen vulnerabilities found in the Firefox extension code exploitable through PDF.js over the years, but this is a far better record than the hundreds of vulnerabilities identified in Acrobat Reader.

PDF.js does a lot less than Acrobat. It's much more focused on just displaying articles, and less about rich media interactions like embedding 3D models, Flash, videos, etc. in the PDF.

Very much appreciate you pointing this out. Do you know if I can use this to embed a pdf in a personal website. a resume for example?

Have you looked into different PDF readers? There's more than just Adobe Acrobat. Your browser might have its own PDF reader.

Not aware of other more secure readers. Suggestions welcome.

This PDF is simply a compilation of scanned images, and didn't hack me hardly at all.

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