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Transcript of loib , Grode Talking About World Wonders loib , Grode "Talking About World . Wonders" by . Joy Nolan

  • loib , Grode

    "Talking About World Wonders" by Joy Nolan

    Judith DuPre studies buildings) bridges, and other wonders built by humans. In this

    interview) she discusses amazing buildings and s~ructures ofyesterday and today.

    Q: What makes people want to build amazing structures?

    1 A: People have built extraordinary structures throughout history for the same

    reasons: power, devotion, and pride. Cathedrals were some of the most amazing

    early wonders. An army of builders joined in with their entire community to

    create them. Cathedral builders competed to show devotion to their gods with

    beautiful, tall buildings.

    Q: Tell us more about these early wonders of the world. How were they built?

    By whom?

    2 A: We don't know the names of the cathedral builders. They worked anonymously

    on projects they knew would not be completed in their lifetimes. We're more into

    speed and instant gratification these days.

    Q: The American Society of Civil Engineers named the Seven Modern \Vonders

    of the World. The American wonders they chose are the Empire State Building

    in New York and the Golden Gate Bridge near San Francisco. Do you haye

    a favorite? I

  • 3 A: I don't agree with either choice, I would nominate the George Washington

    B~idge (GWB), It was built during the Great Depression and opened in 1931

    C'efore most people owned cars, But its engineer, Othmar Ammann, realized the

    importance of the automobile. He realized that cars were the way of the future.

    The bridge shows a giant shift in our culture, from trains to cars. I also love that

    ~:'ecause money was tight, the builders could not afford to cover up the support

    sys:tem of the bridge's pier. It's all still right out there, so we can all see how the

    bridge is held up.

    Q~ Do you have any other favorite modern wonders?

    .:i A~ Sure I do! The Eiffel Tower in Paris remains an unsurpassed engineering feat.

    Tall buildings get hit by lots of wind. The shape of the tower was determined by

    :he \vind-it has a cage-like design to let the wind through.

    G;: Why was the EiffeI Tower built? oJ

    5 A: Paris wanted an amazing icon-and they got it! Everyone now thinks of the

    Eiflel Tower when they think of Paris.

    Q:: How did Eiffel come up with his design for the tower?

    6 A~ Gustave Eiffel was a bridge designer. Also, a few years before he built the

    tower, he designed the understructure of the Statue of Liberty. It's hidden, but

    it's incredible! It's a steel cage. Buildings made of stone could go only about ten

    stories high. Once we had a skeletal cage of iron or steel, a building's weight

    could be evenly distributed - and it could get immense. It's pretty funny that the

    most avant-garde structure in the United States-the one th~t brought about the

    skeletal steel framing of the modern skyscraper-is hidden under the Statue of

    Liberty's skirt. It makes me smile.

    feat (n.) an impressive achievement

  • Q: What buildings of today will continue to amaze us?

    7 A: The works of Norman Foster are some of the most amazing. His structures

    are designed to conserve energy and are also pleasing places for people to

    work and live.

    A totally outrageous example is Crystal Island, which is planned for Moscow,

    Russia. It will be one of the tallest buildings in the world. It will be an indoor

    city made from glass. The outside of a building is called ski .This building has

    a "smart" skin to combat the extremely cold, windy climate of Moscow. The

    building also uses renewable energy resources - sun, wind, geothermal. Energy is

    harnessed and recycled in a practical way.

    I'm also very excited by the way Crystal Island will look. It's sleek and

    contemporary, very beautiful to look at. Norman Foster is a visionary, but he's a

    practical visionary. It's not all about the structure. For him, it's about how people

    interact in these buildings. Some buildings look high-tech and futuristic, but :you

    have to wonder how people are going to like being in them.

    Q: What would you say is the most amazing city or place on earth

    today, architecturally?

    8 A: Dubai is a very interesting place to look at. It's part of a desert country in

    the Middle East. Until recently there was a whole lot of nothing there. and ilC.~.

    we see so many amazing new structures going up. It's all because of Sheikh

    Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai. He is using structures to create an identity fi=i~

    Dubai. He is determined to make Dubai City into a financial capital.

    He is also moving the economy away from a petroleum-based one. As of200g,

    all buildings built in Dubai had to be sustainable. or ~'green'" \'Ve now see more

    people trying to understand responsible architecture.

    '~·lc;-d.s to KnOVi

  • : "-our book tells us that we are living in a time of big innovation in skyscraper

    design and construction. Can you describe it?

    9 A: A.fter the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11,2001, the

    designing of tall buildings paused momentarily. Then it continued. We are in a

    race now to build the tallest- the Burj Dubai will be tallest for five years, but

    2.fchitects have already announced buildings that will be taller than that. We're

    5eeing a remarkable meeting of architecture and engineering, helped by computer

    technology. We're now creating structures that could never have been imagined in

    ~~e past, even fifty years ago. It's an amazing time to be studying world wonders!

    ;nnovation: (n.) anew idea, method, or device

  • wall,'" tc protect China from northern nomads \'.~ho 'were trying to invade China.

    Laborers built the wall bv ioinin2: \yalls constructed earlier and extending the length. , ....

    0{ the \vall to neady 3.100 miles.

    -- 8 \Vith the help of General Meng Tian, Qin Shi Huangdi ordered 800,000 men­

    soljiers. prisoners, and peasants-to build the wall. Where stones were plentiful,

    workers used stones to build parts of the wall. Where stones were scarce, workers

    used dirt.

    --9 To build the wall, laborers dug up large amounts of dirt and carried it to the

    wall. The workers then piled dirt into wooden frames about 6 inches deep. They used

    . wooden instruments to pound the dirt until it became a solid mass. This process was

    rep:eated until the wall reached a desired height. Workers then moved the wooden

    rram'ts to the next section of the wall and began the process again.

    --10 According to legend, Qin Shi Huangdi condemned workers to death for

    m2king the slightest construction errors. Today, few traces of the Qin wall remain.

    After Qin Shi Huangdi's death in 210 Be, workers abandoned the wall and it e\"entually crumbled into ruins.

    The Ming Fortress --11 Nearly all of Qin Shi Huangdi's successors built walls along China ~s northem

    frontier. The fortifications, however, never fully protected China from invasion.

    During the early 13th century, Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongols, a nomad gf'oup

    from the north, united .several nomad armies and conquered much of Asia.

    --12 In 1279, Genghis Khan's grandson, Kubilai Khan, overthrew the Chines·e

    emperor and established the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368). The Yuan emperors did not maintain the old wall or build a new one, so the wall began to fall into ruins.

  • ~13 After Khan died in 1227, a Chinese farmer named Zu Yuanzhang led a rebe

    army and helped overthrow the last Yuan emperor. When Zu Yuanzhang seized

    power, he established the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Zu and his successors decided

    to rebuild China's Great Wall, which lay mostly in ruins, to keep the Mongols from

    returning to re-conquer China. For nearly 200 years, thousands of workers toiled

    away on the Ming wall-reinforcing the Great Wall with bricks and stone.

    ~ 14 The Ming wall eventually blocked mountain passes that Mongol soldiers

    had used to invade China. When Mongol tribes attacked the wall, Chinese soldiers

    alerted others by lighting signal fires. When guards from a signal tower saw the fire,

    they built another fire, passing the warning along the wall. The number of ,smoke

    plumes and cannon shots fired indicated to Chinese soldiers how many enemy

    soldiers were approaching.

    ~15 The Ming government taxed the people of China heavily to pay for

    construction of the Great Wall. In 1644, the Manchus, a nomad tribe from northeast

    of Peking, helped rebels overthrow the Ming rulers and started the next era in

    Chinese history - the Qing dynasty. During the Qing dynasty, Manchu forces drove

    out Mongol invaders and extended China's border farther north beyond the Great

    Wall. The wall no longer protected China's border, so construction stopped and

    soldiers abandoned the fortresses.

    The Wall At Risk ~ 16 Today, Chinese officials warn that the Great Wall is once again under

    attack. But this time the wall is not in danger from invaders. Instead local people

    and tourists alike threaten the wall. Dong Yaohui, head of the Great Wall Society of

    China, recently persuaded a local government to levy a