There’s no doubt that construction is one of the toughest jobs in the world, but there was a time when power tools and heavy construction machinery didn’t even exist. Even with those tools being absent on job sites, amazing structures were still built for thousands of years and with extremely intricate detail. SO how exactly did they do it? Tons of manpower and tons of time, something that many modern jobs don’t have the luxury of. Ignoring all of today’s modern conveniences, a group of French construction workers and other skilled tradesmen and women have teamed up to build an authentic 13th Century style castle.
The Guedelon Castle, located in Burgundy, France, has been under construction since 1997 and it’s still not expected to be complete until 2020. Even though the construction process is spread out over nearly 25 years, it’s an incredible feat to complete this project completely from scratch, with a team of on-site quarrymen, stonemasons, woodcutters, carpenters, blacksmiths, tile masons, and rope makers. That’s right, they even have to make their own tile and ropes; there aren’t any Home Depots available on this job. In total, the project employs 70 craftsmen, 40 of whom work on-site. Not all of those tradesmen came with years of experience, as many had to hone their skills in the field. In to the 70 the project employs, around 600 people spend time throughout the year learning the tricks of the trade.
In order to determine how the castles were actually built centuries ago, a team of achaeologists and historians examined illustrations on medieval manuscripts, financial records, and other 13th century castles that are still standing. Not only has this project been an extremely interesting experiment for today’s people to see with their own eyes how these structures were built, but it also helps researchers fill in the blanks on ancient construction methods.
When Michel Guyot, who owns and restores Saint-Fergeau Castle, originally thought of building this authentic 13th castle, many laughed at him, but he soon found a partner in Maryline Martin. The team worked for months planning and fundraising to make the project a reality. One year after construction started, in 1998, the site was opened to the public, so that visitors could see the amazing process. In 2015 alone, 300,000 people visited Geudelon Castle and the project is now completely funded by tourism.
This is an absolute must see if you ever happen to visit France.
In the video below, by Latvijas komanda, you’ll see some incredible footage of many of the processes, from hoisting large stones by hand with rope, to shaping stone and milling freshly cut timber. There’s even a human hamster wheel to help lift materials and supplies to the upper levels.
For some additional history of the project and even more details on the construction techniques, check out this video by La Culture du Vin
The NFL is a cash cow and nothing makes that more evident than the soaring costs to build the newest NFL stadiums. The past four stadiums to open were the Minnesota Vikings’ US Bank Stadium (watch timelapse here), the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, the New York Jets/Giants’ MetLife Stadium, and the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. All four surpassed $1 Billion in construction cost. The first stadium to open after the Millennium was the Cincinnati Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, which only cost a miniscule (relatively) $455 million ($626 million in 2016 dollars) to build. The oldest stadium still in use by any NFL team is the Oakland Raiders’ Coliseum, which was completed in 1966 and cost $25.5 million ($186 million in 2016 dollars). That stadium also spent $200 million ($302 million in 2016 dollars) in renovations in 1995 and 1996. As you can see, dollars spent on NFL stadiums have increased significantly in the past few decades and there’s no end in sight.
Not all demolition videos can be implosions and that’s OK, because each type of demolition is its own art form. Sometimes contractors are bound by the constraints of the job, especially when located in an area with a large concentration of pedestrians and other public areas. That was the case for the construction site of the future One Vanderbilt Tower in New York City, which just completed the demolition of five different buildings covering an entire city block.
The number one goal on every construction site should be that all workers make it home safe at the end of the day. The sad reality is that hundreds of construction workers are killed on the job site every year. Last year, contractors were working on an indoor activity center for a high school in Argyle, Texas, when the 30 foot tall structure quickly collapsed, killing one man in the process.
Construction work can be a workout in and of itself many times. The hours are long, the tools and materials are heavy, but that’s not stopping a young worker in central China from adding some additional exercises to his daily routine.
The weight of dirt is serious business and the force it provides should not be underestimated. Depending on the moisture content, soil can weigh around 2,000 pounds per cubic yard. Many construction workers die each year from trench collapses due to improper shoring and benching techniques, but weight and force calculations are also extremely important in the design and construction of retaining walls.
It’s not often that a gigantic pack of construction vehicles are seen on the same site together, been when they do, it’s pretty memorizing. Some of our favorite construction videos of all time involve more machines than you would think could fit in one space, like this 10 hour demolition of a Canadian Overpass or this video of 116 excavators working side-by-side in China. Very few jobsites have the luxury of throwing a bunch of machines and labor on a project, but, if performed correctly, it can get a job done pretty quickly.
China builds infrastructure…and some of the world’s most impressive infrastructure, at that. While the United States’ latest grade for bridges, roads, and other transportation systems was a D+, China keeps plugging away on upgrades and new construction. Some scholars have started to question China’s spending on infrastructure, some going as far to say that it’s forcing itself into financial ruin, but, as of right now, there are no signs of slowing down.
Just because construction work happens every day, doesn’t make it any less thrilling of a job. Some people like to climb mountains, others like to climb building that are under construction and bridges that need maintained. Some people don’t like looking over balconies a few stories off the ground, yet many times construction and maintenance workers have to actually do work while dangling 500 feet up in the air.
There are people who spend their lives searching for Big Foot or the Lock Ness Monster, but sometimes humans only find legends when they’re not specifically looking for them. Reports have surfaced this week of a construction crew in Altamira, Para in Brazil which has apparently found the largest snake in history on their job site.
Last year, we shared a video of 6 Scottish high rise buildings that were imploded simultaneously, which was one of our favorite demolition videos of 2015. The problem, however, was that only 4 of them actually fell completely, causing delays as crews had to use high reach machinery to complete the job.