As any fan of history and architecture knows, ancient engineers didn’t sit around waiting for the introduction of professional-grade free 2D CAD, nor did they have any need for plumbing and electrical diagrams.
Just for fun, here’s a glimpse at two Biblical construction projects where DraftSight could have speeded up the process!
According to the Bible, King Solomon’s Temple, also known as the First Temple, towered over ancient Jerusalem for more than 400 years (832 to 422 BCE) where the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock now stand.
It’s probably the world’s most contested slab of real estate, and we cautiously stay away from all forms of politics on the DraftSight blog. But needless to say, Solomon’s Temple still captures our imaginations. The inner house of the Temple was 20 cubits high, 20 cubits long and 20 cubits wide.
A cubit is the length of a forearm, which varies from individual. (It should be noted that DraftSight is much more meticulous with its units of measurement, sticking with inches and centimeters, though it does extend to miles and kilometers as well). Using the conservative 18 inch estimate for a cubit, that means the Temple was 30 feet tall.
The interior contained hardwood cedar floors (from the famous Cedars of Lebanon) and the walls were overlaid with gold.
Turns out that Sir Isaac Newton, the English scientist and mathematician credited with “discovering” gravity, was obsessed with the dimensions of the Biblical Temple, believing the geometry was sacred and inspired by God. A recent exhibit at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem showcased Newton’s personal manuscripts related to Biblical subjects.
Because the shipbuilding industry is one of the core constituencies of DraftSight and all of Dassault Systèmes‘ design tools, it’s a natural leap to also wonder how Noah’s Ark could have been pulled off from an engineering standpoint.
There are plenty of skeptics, naturally, who question the idea that it is possible to build a wooden ship capable of holding one of every species of animal — let alone manage these animals’ natural tendencies to feast on one another.
Aspiring shipbuilder Jose F. Solis seriously explored these matters while he was an architectural doctoral student at the Georgia Institute of Technology back in 2004. Solis created a hypothetical analysis for Noah, urging him to choose his “company” for the job.
Here, courtesy of the Georgia Tech faculty newspaper, is his rationale for why his 99,150-square foot Noah’s Ark would float:
“To create a three-story vessel with trusses, Solis calculated both the dead and live weight of the ship. He researched the types of materials that were available worldwide during Noah’s time and made an initial dead weight calculation of 3,676 tons. He calculated the live load of all the animals, food and storage, along with the residential portion of the ark, to be 4,560 tons, which was based on his assumption of the length of time Noah and the animals would be on the ark. The total load of both the dead and live weight was estimated to be 9,000 tons.”
“Solis then calculated the maximum and minimum amounts of water needed on the ark, designing a drainage system that used rainwater to fill up troughs and tanks scattered throughout the ark. His research concluded the total weight of the water, in addition to the containers, was 4,000 tons.”
“The total displacement of the ark was 13,000 tons, which resulted in having the water line at 12 feet and thus capable of floating. Solis calculated a total displacement of 18,088 tons as the maximum worst case scenario and concluded that the point at which the ark would float would be 15.3 feet, 2.7 feet below his calculated sink or float mark of 18 feet.”
As an aside, Solis calculated that this design would have cost $16.5 million to construct — or $165 per square foot — based on modern lumber and hardware prices. (Speaking of grad school, find out how educators and students can especially benefit from DraftSight Premium Services.)
In Holland, an enterprising builder has taken things a step further. Not content with paper or CAD models of the Ark, Biblical enthusiast Johan Huibers is creating a full-size replica complete with restaurants and theme attractions. He plans to open sometime in 2012.
You can take a peek at the construction process on this YouTube video, which is attracting its share of cynics. “Looks like they are making it with the materials and tools Noah would had at his disposal,” huffs one commenter.
Power tools or not, the Dutch Ark is an impressive work of architecture!
So DraftSighters, what’s your favorite architectural or engineering marvel?