by Frederike Berg
Impressive scaffolding projects at famous landmarks
Scaffolding especially attracts a lot of attention when it is erected at famous buildings and structures. Of course, tourists and locals don’t start cheering when popular tourist magnets like London's Big Ben or the Roman Collosseum disappear behind scaffolding ledgers, standards and lattice girders for years. But the joy is all the greater when the scaffolding is taken down again and the results are revealed. In this blog post, we introduce you to three exciting scaffolding projects that took place at world-famous landmarks.
Big Ben - London
Anyone who has visited London in the last 5 years will hardly have caught a glimpse of the Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as Big Ben, without its scaffolding. The reason was extensive renovation work on the 96-metre-high tower and the Victorian clockwork. And that’s not all: the famous bells of the London landmark also remained silent during the 80 million pound restoration project. No surprise, then, that the renovation project and its scaffolding caused quite a stir.
The whole thing even went so far that the sauce manufacturer Heinz integrated the scaffolding into the Big Ben logo of its HP Sauce.
But all that came to an end this year, because the renovation work on Big Ben has been completed, the scaffolding has been dismantled and there is once again a clear view of the 160-year-old clock tower.
For more insights on the Big Ben restoration project, click here.
Christ the Redeemer Statue – Rio de Janeiro
Since its inauguration in 1931, it is impossible to imagine Rio de Janeiro without the Christ the Redeemer statue. Visible from afar, the once largest statue in the world is located high up on the 710-metre-high Corcovado mountain. However, the height also has its risks, and despite lightning rods on the head and arms of the statue, it is prone to be damaged by lightning strikes or heavy rain. And these damages have to be repaired regularly. You can imagine that doing this at a total height of almost 740 metres is quite a challenge.
That's why people were amazed when not only the statue of Christ but also the scaffolding around it caught the eye when looking towards Corcovado in 2010. For four months, around 100 people were busy restoring the 38-metre-high statue. Both the interior of the statue was renovated and the damages at the outer surface of soapstone mosaic were repaired. All this cost 4 million dollars and was financed by donations. For more information and pictures on the restoration project of the Christ the Redeemer statue click here.
Scaffolding is not used for every repair and maintenance job on the statue of Christ the Redeemer. For example, when a finger of the statue was damaged by a lightning strike in 2014, restorers with alpinist training repaired the damage by climbing along the statue's arms to the damaged part using safety ropes.
And even during the last restoration work for the 90th anniversary of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue in 2021, the Brazilian landmark was not completely scaffolded. For more pictures and info on this spectacular restoration project, click here.
Notre Dame – Paris
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is one of the most visited monuments in France. The shock was all the greater when a fire broke out in April 2019 during restoration work, destroying parts of Notre Dame. Among other things, the wooden roof truss and the spire of the cathedral collapsed. Just two months after the fire, the French Parliament passed a law to rebuild Notre Dame within 5 years.
To make the reconstruction work possible at all, however, the old scaffolding that was used for the original renovation project first had to be removed. The 200-tonne scaffolding had been erected 40 metres up on the roof of Notre Dame before the fire to restore the spire. It was massively deformed by the heat of the fire and had partially collapsed onto the vault. In addition, the construction consisting of 40,000 scaffolding parts threatened to damage the already damaged masonry of the nave. The challenging dismantling process took a full 6 months, with the workers cutting apart the fused scaffolding tubes partly with a chainsaw.
After completion of the securing and clearing phase, work on the reconstruction of the cathedral began at the end of 2021. Since then, new scaffolding has been erected the 850-year-old Parisian landmark. Notre Dame is to be restored by 2024. Experts, however, expect a much longer restoration phase until Notre Dame is fully restored to its original state. Read more about the reconstruction of Notre Dame here.
Even if they usually come in rather plain steel, these projects show that scaffolding can attract a lot of attention, depending on the location. Which of your scaffolding projects was particularly challenging? Write us in the comments or send us your project pictures to email@example.com. Maybe you will soon find your scaffolding project on our project page or in our scaffolding blog.
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