2 : CRAFT & IoT
A Medieval Crash Andrew Prescott Beauvais Cathedral in northern France was one of the most ambitious and highly decorated Gothic buildings of the middle ages. The vaulted roofs of the choir were over forty metres high, making it the highest vaulted cathedral in Europe. However, in 1284, only twelve years after its completion, the choir dramatically collapsed, apparently because some intermediate buttresses were not strong enough (Murray, 1989). The choir at Beauvais was rebuilt with much stronger buttresses, but an attempt in the sixteenth century to crown the building with a 153 metre tower, which would have made the cathedral the tallest structure in the world, resulted in further disaster when the tower fell down. Beauvais Cathedral remains admired as a great achievement of Gothic architecture but it is also a reminder of the challenges confronted by medieval architects. These challenges and their solutions give us insights into what a craft approach might look like for the Internet of Things. Medieval architects and masons had limited engineering and mathematical knowledge and used simple instruments. The enormous scale of medieval cathedrals was achieved by the repetition of simple geometric forms using such basic tools as a 45° square and dividers. The pattern of the ribs and shafts in vaults might for example have been calculated by simple rotation of a 45° square (Shelby 1972). The size of the buttresses were calculated by rules such as that given the fifteenth-century German master mason Lorenz Lechler: Divide the space between the buttresses into five equal parts: give three parts to the window, and two parts to the wall on either side of the window (Shelby and Mark, 1979). Medieval cathedrals are triumphs of pragmatic craftsmanship. They show how imposing and inspiring buildings can be created using simple tools, basic geometrical patterns, repetition and a ‘rule of thumb’ method. Sometimes as at Beauvais there were disasters, but generally this craft approach was very successful and resulted in some of the greatest buildings in the world. The triumphs of the medieval stonemasons may seem a very long way from the modern digital world. But in every computer system there are surprising parallels
A publication by UnBox in partnership with Mozilla's Open IoT Studio.