As we figure out exactly what happened, the more we do know about the Notre Dame fire, the more it begins to remind me of the Brazilian museum fire from last year, which burned up the nation’s historical heritage. This Twitter thread puts together a lot of the story from different sources, which is that Notre Dame was a total mess and falling apart, it needed significant structural fixes, and no one wanted to pay for it so that even though it is the ultimate symbol of France (at least to the French, I guess the Eiffel Tower is internationally), things were allowed to decay to the point where desperate measures were in order. It’s a real tragedy. The truth is these old gigantic buildings are incredibly expensive to maintain and there’s no real political glory to do so. People assume that everything will ultimately be OK with them until they are not and then there’s nothing that can be done.
Husband (architect and engineer) pointed out that whoever the contractor on this Notre Dame renovation was, they’re legally and financially fucked now. That got me curious about the firm … which led to some old articles and, oh man, the aftermath of this is gonna be messy …— Maggie Koerth-Baker (@maggiekb1) April 15, 2019