In the Making: Notre Dame Truss Project

November 5, 2021

There’s a “no one can do this,” kind of attitude in the world. But yes, we can! The craft is alive, and worth preserving—and worth using for a building of this significance.

Laura Brown

On Thursday, November, 4 2021, we explored how our 2021 Preservation Carpentry graduates joined a team in Washington D.C., recreating a full-scale truss of the damaged Notre Dame Cathedral using only medieval carpentry techniques. Joining us were Rick and Laura Brown of Handshouse Studio who created and led the project, and Henry Newhard, an alumni of the Preservation Carpentry program who was part of the crew in D.C.

They spent nearly two weeks on the idyllic Catholic University campus working with timber framers from all over the country, using time-honored carpentry techniques to build a recreation of the truss from the ground up. This immersive audiovisual tour takes a look into Handshouse Studio’s history, the project’s creation, the historic tools they used, and teaching the group the same techniques that were used to build the original truss.

“In the Making” is a public programs series where we connect with a range of new voices, fields, and perspectives. Learn more and view a full list of events on the series homepage.