US university creates Notre Dame truss using medieval construction techniques

A team from Washington, DC’s Catholic University of America has crafted a wooden truss using medieval construction methods used on Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.

The 35ft-tall, 45ft-wide oak truss will be exhibited at the National Building Museum.

The sixth truss is a copy of one of the 25 primary trusses from Paris’ Notre-Dame de Paris, which supported the cathedral’s roof.

All of the original trusses were destroyed when the cathedral caught fire in August 2019, work on which is due to be restored by 2024.

30 white oak logs were cut by 40 carpenters and framers using axes to the specifications of official drawings created by Rémi Fromont and Cédric Trentesaux of the Notre-Dame de Paris reconstruction process.

No modern tools or equipment were be used in the construction process, with wood hand-hewn, and each piece of timber will be connected by pegs.

The Catholic University’s School of Architecture worked alongside Massachusetts’ educational nonprofit Handshouse Studio and Charpentiers sans Frontière (Carpenters Without Borders).

Juan Soto, architecture student at Catholic University of America, said: “This class has really helped us learn about timber framing and the connections and how these different joints were created. It’s really interesting to see it on paper, but then coming out here to the site, we get to see how it’s actually built, how it’s constructed, keeping in mind the traditions the French used back then.”

Images courtesy of Catholic University of America

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