Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is the tallest building today. It stands 828 meters high. The Pyramid of Cheops held this title for 3800 years. The Pyramid of Cheops’ height of 138m was not exceeded until 1311. This achievement was made possible by the Gothic cathedral in Lincoln (England). It had been built in 1185, and measured 159 meters high. However, its spire fell in 1594. Next was Strasbourg Cathedral, France. It was completed in 1439. The record remained unbroken with its 142-meter bell tower.

Between the time that cathedral work began in Lincoln and when it ended in Strasbourg, there was intense competition across Europe. Cities and towns competed to build the largest, most impressive, and most visible cathedral.

The construction of medieval cathedrals has been a subject of many myths and legends. It was a convergence of the engineering heritages of Rome and Greece. They were also highly qualified in all the relevant disciplines. The positive disposition of the entire populace that was able to wait for decades, sometimes even centuries to see the cathedral finished. This would be a tribute to the deity…and to the city. It will also display true feats in engineering that continue to amaze engineers, architects, and scientists from all areas.

The Greek architects were the ones who invented cranes to lift heavy loads. The wooden cranes were built around 515 BC. However, there are no traces left. Large stones already had holes, so it was possible to use systems like ‘lewissons’. These are metal clamps that use stone weight to hold it in place and then lift it with a crane. These machines replaced ramps that were used to move large stones. Documents from the time mention the use of pulleys and winches on cranes. These machines could be operated by either men or animals like donkeys or oxen. A crane placed on rollers could move horizontally. This system was used to construct the Parthenon. These machines were developed by the Romans to construct their buildings. They were perfected in Middle Ages by animal or human traction using large squirrel wheel as well as windlasses, levers, and animal or human traction.

The bell tower at Chesterfield Church has a 14th-century wheeled crane that was used to lift and transport goods. It was built around this time. It currently resides in a museum.

Reconstruction of a Roman wheel crane in Bonn (Germany).

The use of sets of pulleys, or groups of pulleys known as ‘hoists’ was a key factor in the development of cranes. These are the best way to increase lifting effort and have been until now the most popular method of doing so. The crane’s load capacity was determined by the strength of the wooden structure.

In Roman engineering, semicircular arches were created that distributed the weight of semicircles towards the pillars. Ingenious solutions were found in the Middle Ages. They used two segments of a larger circle that meet at the top at an angle. These arches are typical of Gothic architecture. They are more durable and distribute the weight better than previous vaults. These arches were built on wooden falsework, just like the Roman arch. This allowed for the placement of stones and voussoirs. After the arch was fixed, the falsework had to be removed.

Pointed arches at the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Vitoria. / CATHEDRAL FOUNDATION / QUINTAS

The cathedral builders had a clear goal: to build walls that were narrower than the walls used in Romanesque architecture, or those found in castles. The new arches supported light walls and beautiful stained glass windows allowed for the illumination of the temple with only sunlight. The walls gave way when they were too heavy, so the builders built the buttresses. These columns were attached to the wall with inclined elements called flying buttresses. This directed the temple’s weight away from the walls and kept them from collapsing. They won

Cranes have been a way to make it easier to switch from large stones to smaller ones, and more frequently since the Greeks. These stones were often sourced from older buildings or quarries that are far away from the cathedrals being built. The stone was cut in quarries to facilitate the process. It was then shaped or carved to its final form according to the instructions of the builder.

The need to lighten the cathedral interiors with colored glass caused a technological boom in colored glass. While the Romans and Greeks had already produced small amounts of it, the Romans and Greeks saw a huge demand for it. Glass was made with potash from burnt wood, sand and other metals. Each color is unique. The glass is naturally green. This is a curious fact. Manganese was needed to make the glass transparent. Copper was used to make a bluish-green tint, while cobalt and gold were used to make a deeper blue. Silver was also used to create shades from yellow to deep red, as well as various combinations. The glass.

A fire broke out at the famous 12th-14th-century Parisian Notre-Dame cathedral on April 15, 2019. It destroyed its oak roof and lead roof, as well as its 93-meter-high, 1859-dated spire. The walls, arches, and stained glass windows of the cathedral survived the flames, which is a testament to its builders’ skill.

The successes and failures of building medieval cathedrals provided the foundation for engineering and many knowledge that would lead to taller, safer, more efficient buildings today. However, they are not as beautiful as those of the past. medieval