Wednesday, 20 March 2024

15.00-16.00 GMT – Zoom Webinar  (Register via Eventbrite here)

The reconstruction of major churches in Northern France after the First World War

Several French cathedrals and major churches were severely damaged during WW1 and were reconstructed in 1923-40 as a project by the Ministry of Culture, who represented their state ownership. The decision to reproduce largely faithfully the missing fabric, including vaults, towers, or intricate decorations, was accompanied by a quest to make the best use of modern materials, especially the fire-proof qualities of concrete. The reconstruction programme for two churches, Soissons cathedral and Noyon, is outlined, discussing technical choices and design preferences by the Ministry architects.

The reconstruction of the transept in Noyon

Dimitris Theodossopoulos

Dimitris is a senior lecturer in Architectural Technology and Conservation in ESALA, University of Edinburgh and a civil engineer. His research in Gothic vaulting has been dealing with cases in Scotland and Greece, focusing on their design, construction and performance. The recent fire in Notre Dame exemplifies recovery of major monuments after traumatic events, so he is interested in framing the debate with the technical culture of past experiences, like the major reconstruction of French cathedrals after WW1.