While Bishop Victoria and the Anglican church property trust (CPT) continue to sit on their hands perhaps awaiting devine intervention, who knew, it turns out that a group of stalwart people in New Zealand – with an incredible level of international assistance – are busy planning a very special Cathedral project.
From: Mark Belton
Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:11 PM
To: [Elizabeth Kerr + RCC Mailing List]
Subject: Introducing The People’s Steeple
Dear Cathedral Restoration supporters
Below is a link to a video clip of the People’s Steeple proposal being demonstrated by its creator Marcus Brandt. Marcus has been in CHCH this last week promoting the People’s Steeple Project.
The People’s Steeple is a mind blowing proposal…audacious, visionary, inspiring. Lifting telescoping timber sections of the spire 60 metres into the sky…powered by about 500 trained people working 16 capstan winches placed around Cathedral Square, watched by up to 50,000 people in the Square.
The US based Timber Framers Guild (TFG), a professional organisation of engineers and timber framers has offered to be the lead contractor to build, assemble, and erect the People’s Steeple. The lead NZ engineers would be renowned CHCH timber engineer – Prof Andy Buchanan whose report on the project is attached.
Skilled TFG members from the US and around the world would gift their time, working in the Square preparing and assembling the timbers, and then helping lead the steeple’s erection. Up to 300 TFG members along with locals could be involved working in the Square over a period of about 6 months.
The TFG have successfully undertaken 75 community building projects over the last 25 years in the US and around the world. They are super keen to offer their services to CHCH. The TFG emphasise their projects are about ‘building communities’.
Marcus says would take only 2-3 hrs to lift and secure the telescoping sections. Flooring and bells would be assembled the same day and in the evening the bells would ring out…proclaiming to the world – ‘Christchurch is back’….and a Hangi feast would be opened…for a crowd of 50,000! International media would broadcast the event around the world…the whole enterprise being about engaging our community in the most positive way…and it would ignite fund raising for the restoration of the cathedral. It is envisaged the construction of the People’s Steeple would lead restoration of the cathedral and the Square.
It is noted huge pro bono contributions from the Guild’s members are being offered, and Blakely Pacific NZ Ltd, a US based forestry company has offered to provide the timbers at no cost from giant 125-year-old Port Orford Cedar from its Pioneer Forest in South Canterbury.
The Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group is strongly supportive of the People’s Steeple.
We hope this inspiring project will help engage and enthuse Christchurch people with recovery of the cathedral, and help get the cathedral restoration programme underway.
Co-Chair, Restore Christchurch Cathedral
Permanent Forests NZ Limited
PO Box 34, Lyttelton 8841, New Zealand
See attached reports by Marcus Brandt, Andy Buchanan, and the TFG.
● TFG People’s Steeple Project approach notes-10-2-16
● Steeple 16-8-12
● M Belton report on Timber Framers Guild conf and People’s Steeple 23-9-16
● Engineering the People’s Steeple v9
The People’s Steeple | Whare Films Published on Feb 23, 2017
The People’s Steeple
Rebuilding the Bell Tower at Christchurch Cathedral
Marcus Brandt: An Introduction
For the last thirty years or so, I’ve been restoring historic stone and timber buildings, mostly in Southeastern Pennsylvania. I’m a working master carpenter and stone mason. Most of the historic buildings I am called to work on are 150 to 300 years old. Solid and well crafted, these old buildings tend to age well, but neglect and damage can take a toll. Much of my effort is spent in repairing and strengthening the timber frames of barns, bridges, houses, gristmills and churches. I’ve had several commissions to build new structures in the old style. I have organized and led many barn raisings, in which hundreds of volunteers gather to raise a barn’s frame in a day. A good crew will have the sides and roof on too.
Straightening, plumbing and repairing damaged stone walls is often called for. It is not uncommon to straighten a wall 10 meters high that is out of plumb by 400 or 500 mm. Having studied and worked with several Scots masons, I’m a strong believer in lime based mortars and good masonry practice. The interface between stone and timber is of particular interest to me.
Since 1989, I’ve been a professional member of the Timber Framers Guild (TFG) and a member of the Traditional Timberframe Research and Advisory Group (TTRAG). That part of the Guild focuses on understanding the past practice of the craft with a view that the past might help inform future practice. I have advised many historical and preservation societies and sat on many review boards.
As a result of my participation in Guild efforts and projects, I was invited to go to both Scotland and China to investigate “lost” technologies for the Public Broadcast Service series NOVA. We built working siege weapons in Scotland and in China we built a bridge design that hadn’t been built since the Mongol invasion.
I teach Traditional building skills at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. I’m particularly interested in ways that the pre-industrial past practice can inform building in the greener, sustainable post-industrial world of the future.
I serve as a sailor, boson and ship’s carpenter aboard the tall ship Gazela (www.Gazela.org). That experience has taught me much about rigging and raising heavy loads in confined spaces. It’s taught me about erecting tall, secure, flexible, stable structures that get tossed about and shaken mercilessly. A sea captain in her own right, my wife serves as First Mate aboard Gazela. She out-ranks me, and helps keep me humble.
Since 22 February, I have been working as much as possible to develop a method to rebuild the Bell tower at Christchurch. With the help of friends and students, and the forbearance of my wife, I developed a plan that is beautiful, solid, strong, flexible, earthquake resistant, buildable, durable, and familiar. But more than anything, I want to use the rebuilding of the steeple as a vehicle for rebuilding and strengthening the community. And, once built, serve as an outward witness to the inward love we have for each other as fellow humans.
I look forward to doing this project with the able help of my best friends in the world…many of whom I haven’t yet met.
█ More information about the People’s Steeple Project and participants at http://thepeoplessteeple.org/
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
This post is offered in the public interest.
*Images: Christchurch Cathedral – (from top) colour render by whatifdunedin [photo source: Country Farm Garden Photos at cfgphoto.com]; black white render by whatifdunedin [photo source: Tony H Photography at tonyhphotography.co.nz]; colour photo of steeple detail [mygola.com]; cathedral with chalice by Sisson Photography [via photoshelter.com]; black white photo by Mudbird Ceramics [mudbirdceramics.blogspot.co.nz]; colour photo by Cindy taken on 5 Aug 2003 [via staticflickr.com]