Although the Notre Dame Cathedral suffered extensive damage to both its inside and outside, the structure itself was largely saved, along with many of its art and religious artifacts, as The Inquisitr reported. But Smithsonian reports that mechanical engineer Paolo Vannucci from the University of Versailles believes that the historic landmark is still at risk of complete collapse under the stress of high winds.
The Daily Express reports Vannucci said the cathedral would likely collapse in the face of any winds stronger than 55 miles per hour in its current state.
“According to my calculations, the risks of a collapse of the vault are very high.”
“In a non-seismic zone like the area where Notre Dame has been built, the first danger the cathedral incurs into is strong winds,” he added.
Vannucci claims that before the fire, the cathedral could withstand winds above 136 miles per hour, but now it’s more vulnerable to wind storms than ever before.
“… the destruction of the carpentry and the vault in the central nave has provoked the loss of resistance in the structure equal to 60 percent.”
Per The Art Newspaper, architect Francesco Bandarin believes that the cathedral’s Gothic architecture was the key to its stability thanks to the combination of its ceiling, rib vaults, and flying buttresses. But now he says it’s unstable without its roof and requires additional reinforcement.
Winds aren’t the only danger to the cathedral either — historic restoration specialist Christophe Villemain suggests that even rain could cause the structure to collapse.
“The rain risks falling on the vaulted ceiling and filling up what we call its haunches, or hollow sections, and that would put the arches at risk of collapse,” he said.
France’s President Emmanual Macron committed to rebuilding Notre Dame within five years — before the Olympic Games in 2024. Yet experts are urging him to call off the deadline and give architects time to work on reconstruction and build it properly.
As The Inquisitr reported, over 1,000 architecture and heritage experts signed a petition earlier this month urging Macron to reconsider his current timeline. The letter — which was published in the French newspaper Le Figaro — includes the signatures of the president of the Association of Heritage Architects Rémi Desalbres, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Philippe de Montebello, and general administrator of the Louvre museum Wanda Diebolt.
Even before the letter was published, experts in medieval architecture were vocal about their belief that the reconstruction timeline was too short, suggesting that it is less than half the time needed for a project of its scope.