Friday, January 6, 2012

Time Capsule: 1962

1962: We all know Bellairs was fond of awkward architecture...this year we’re celebrating fifty years since the completion of one of the craziest cathedrals to ever have been dreamt up.

Do you know how long it took for construction workers to complete building your house? Perhaps less than a year? How about that new government building or the new performing arts center on the nearby college campus? Longer, no doubt – maybe just over two years? These all had the benefit of being designed and constructed in modern times – electricity, CAD, and so on.

How did it take in centuries past? Take cathedrals, for example. Because they were so big and took so long to complete, no one man could mastermind the whole work from start to finish. Some cathedrals were so complex that architects had to come up with new ways to support the grandiose structural design. And when one master mason stepped down, another was waiting in the wings (or nave) with a change in design direction.

How long did it take to construct one of these things?  Here are some well-known buildings and how long it took to get them off the ground.
And then there’s the Cathedral of St. Gorboduc.

Bellairs writes in the third chapter of Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies that the abnormality is "one of the great examples of how many different styles of architecture may blend into a frozen fugue of harmonious integrity." Located in Spain, construction on St. Gorboduc’s is said to have begun in 623 and only saw completion in 1962, a mere fifty years ago this year.

There were obviously delays. Here's to another half-century.

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