new favorite paper.

Turnbull, David. (1993) “The Ad Hoc Collective Work of Building Gothic Cathedrals with Templates, String, and Geometry.” Science, Technology & Human Values 18: 315-340.

My keywords: design, science, technology, theory-vs-practice, tagging, work-practices, laboratories, experiments, knowledge-sharing, templates

Abstract: Gothic cathedrals like Chartres were built in a discontinuous process by groups of masons using their own local knowledge, measures, and techniques. They had neither plans nor knowledge of structural mechanics. The success of the masons in building such large complex innovative structures lies in the use of templates, string, constructive geometry, and social organization to assemble a coherent whole from the messy heterogeneous practices of diverse groups of workers. Chartres resulted from the ad hoc accumulation of the work of many men.

One thought on “new favorite paper.”

  1. awesome. i am curious enough to go download it.

    I think huge chunks of it apply to modern technological research as well. very very neat.

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