July 13, 2021
WHAT: Notre Dame de Paris Truss to be Built at CatholicU
WHERE: The Catholic University of America, University Mall

Catholic University’s School of Architecture and Planning is partnering with Handshouse Studio to build a full-scale truss of Notre Dame de Paris — approximately 45 feet wide and 35 feet tall — during a 10-day workshop on the University Mall.

Traditional timber framers, carpenters, faculty, and students will participate using the methods and materials of the original medieval builders.

The architecture school is teaching a related course on the history and reconstruction of the cathedral. It includes a public lecture series featuring experts from many fields.


July 26 at 6 a.m.: Full-scale truss project begins. A crane will be on the CatholicU campus to unload trees to be hewn on the University Mall and assembled into the full-scale truss. 

Aug. 3 at 5:30 p.m.: Raising Ceremony. The full-size truss that has been hewn on the Mall will be hand-raised in the shadow of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory will bless the structure. 

Aug. 5: In coordination with the Historic Preservation Training Center of the National Park Service and with the support of Preservation Maryland, the truss will be hand-raised during a one-day event on the National Mall.

Aug. 6 to Sept. 16: In partnership with the National Building Museum, the truss will be installed in the building’s historic Great Hall for an exhibition.

PARTNERS: Handshouse Studio 
Charpentiers sans Frontières 
The Catholic University of America 
National Building Museum
Historic Preservation Training Center of the National Park Service
Preservation Maryland
North Bennet Street School

The site will be open to visitors throughout the duration of the project. Media can contact the Division of University Communications to arrange a visit at any time.

Media seeking to visit campus to cover the workshop or who would like to arrange an interview with Catholic University partners should contact the Division of University Communications at communications@cua.edu. 

Media seeking to talk further to Handshouse Studio staff should contact Handshouse co-founder and President Rick Brown at 781-354-1218 or Rick@handshouse.org, or visit handshouse.org

ABOUT: The Catholic University of America is the national university of the Catholic Church and the only higher education institution founded by the U.S. bishops. Established in 1887 as a papally chartered graduate and research center, the University comprises 12 schools and 31 research facilities and is home to 3,055 undergraduate and 2,311 graduate students. 

ABOUT: Handshouse Studio is a non-profit, innovative educational organization that creates adventurous hands-on projects with communities, institutions, and partners around the world as a way to illuminate history, understand science, and perpetuate the arts.