La Cathédrale de Beauvais

3 February 2016 5:00 pm at SAUL Studio

Speaker: Jean-Lucien Guenoun introduced by Irénée Scalbert

La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais consists only of a transept and choir, an apse and seven chapels, all connected by an ambulatory. Although incomplete it is, in some respects, the most daring achievement of Gothic architecture. Standing 48 metres tall, Beauvais Cathedral has the highest vault of any cathedral in Europe. Construction eventually came to an end following the collapse of a tower that would have made the cathedral the tallest building in the world at the time. Even in its unfinished state the choir became known as “the Parthenon of French Gothic.”

Jean-Lucien Guenoun, Architecte des Bâtiments de France, oversees and coordinates the maintenance of Beauvais Cathedral. Ever since construction began in the thirteenth century Beauvais Cathedral has been the site of spectacular collapses and constant rebuilding. The task to preserve the stunning beauty of this Gothic masterpiece is as monumental as its construction in the first place. The story of the continuous effort to prevent further collapse is one of ingenuity and perseverance, and no one is in a better position to tell this story in all its detail than Jean-Lucien Guenoun.

“Futures of the past” looks at buildings of the past and how we think about their future. Aware of the necessarily creative and destructive role of architecture we hold a deep interest in what exists. This series of talks is a public forum intended to address a range of questions on architecture’s role, past and present. The current suite of lectures focuses on architects in the role of curators of historic buildings as well as the technologies of preservation.