Nova: Building the Great Cathedrals

by Andrea Morris
Sunday, Dec 27, 2015



Image credit: Courtesy of Mark Bussell/Providence Pictures

Carved from a hundred million pounds of stone, soaring effortlessly atop a spider web of masonry, Gothic cathedrals are marvels of human achievement and artistry. The WGBH-produced Nova finds out how medieval builders were able to reach such spectacular heights. Consuming the labor of entire towns, sometimes taking a hundred years to build, these architectural marvels were crafted from just hand tools and stone. Many now teeter on the brink of catastrophic collapse. To save them, an international team of engineers, architects, art historians and computer scientists searches the naves, bays and bell-towers for clues to how the massive structures came to be. Nova’s teams perform hands-on experiments to investigate and reveal the architectural secrets that the cathedral builders used to erect their soaring, glass-filled walls. 

Watch it today at 4pm on WGBH 2. More airings

 

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