Notre Dame in the US

(Photo: Olivier Mabelly/flickr)

Catholic University of America team recreates truss for Notre Dame Cathedral

The piece will be presented to France as a gift.

The biggest goal of authenticity for Tonya Ohnstad, visiting assistant professor in the School of Architecture and Planning and the interim associate dean for graduate studies at Catholic University, isn’t how the new truss was built.

It’s the way it’s built — with architects and builders in concert, working together instead of separately.

“For me, it’s really about making, and how one of the other lecturers said, the architect and the builder split somewhere in the Middle Ages,” Ohnstad said. “And for me, it’s really about taking the chances for these two people to meet again and to have the chance to understand each other a little better.”

At the Washington, D.C., university, Ohnstad and a group of carpenters, architecture students and volunteers are using 800-year-old methods to reconstruct a key component of the cathedral, originally constructed in 1345. Its restoration has drawn significant international attention since a fire broke out in its attic in 2019 in the midst of renovations. The blaze damaged the iconic lead spire, and also destroyed “The Forest,” a group of trusses made from ancient wooden logs from a French forest almost a millennium ago.

Read more at Construction Dive