above> known to many as ‘the forest’ the entire roof structure was suspended, never touching the vaulted stone ceilings.
it hasn’t taken very long to grasp that the wooden-frame roof is literally history.
the roof will never be fully restored to its former self nor is there a need. yet how many of the 13 million annual visitors have even perceived the oak beams and carpentry? DesignApplause reflects on a bit of the history and the genius.
[ the roof ]
the roof that was destroyed was the original made up of 1,300 oak trees – a number of 5,000 is often alleged. the oak trees to reach gothic height for this project were nearly 400 years old by the time they were cut. each beam supporting the 100+ yards of roof came from an individual tree. the roof was also known as ‘the forest’.
the wooden roof’s entire wooden frame sat on the stone walls, suspended over and never touching the vaulted stone ceilings. the beams were spliced together into one piece to achieve this span. the structure was impressively heavy made up of 500 tons of wood. the exterior surfaces were clad with 250 tons of lead.
though there are many revival ideas what happens next is difficult to assess. while we wait, DesignApplause ventures into eliminating restoration and winnowing options to replication — possibly via new technology — and inspiration. and if history sets precedent – the original concept has been altered each time during needed renovation – we predict inspiration will guide the way.
editor’s note: this post will be adding commentary on the spire, the architect, and master carpenter. please stay tuned.