OK Cherubs, this is the Eiffel Tower.
You’ve seen it before,
but right now I want you to imagine that you haven’t.
It’s difficult, I know.
This structure has been a part of
our cultural consciousness for a long time,
and it’s a visual synonym for its city and even its country.
But let’s go back to before 1889,
before the Universal Exhibit that debuted this structure
and look at it with fresh eyes.
To do this effectively we’ll have to imagine
ourselves in the epicenter of Impressionism;
in a city that prides itself on its artistic talent
that sees itself as a center of Culture.
And then, in this city of culture, and color and movement…
在这座文化 色彩 运动之城中
this begins to rise.
It’s metal behemoth- an expression of Industrialism.
Gustave Eiffel wasn’t a sculptor
or even an architect
He was an engineer,a bridgebuilder,
and in a lot of ways this looks like a bridge going
straight up to the sky for no reason.
If we keep our mental exercise going
and view this through the lens of a city in love with its own image as an artistic hub,
this is ugly.
It’s nuts and bolts.
It looks like a railway,
or an Erector set lighthouse.
It’s no wonder it had so many critics.
My favorite, by the way, is Guy de Maupassant
who said that the French should,
“in some future riot,
unbolt this tall, skinny pyramid of iron ladders,
this giant and disgraceful skeleton
with a base that seems made to support a formidiable monument of cyclops
and which aborts into a thin ridiculous profile of a factory chimney.”
So good That dude knew how to throw an insult.
A less poetic critique of the tower was
simply, “What’s the point?”
If it’s not pretty and it’s not functional,
And, honestly, that’s a pretty good criticism.
Eiffel’s bridges were beautiful
in part because they were useful
but this was impressive engineering for the sake of engineering
A lot people just didn’t get it.
But here’s the thing:
If we’re going to look at this with fresh eyes,
we also need to imagine ourselves in a world
where the Washington Monument is the world’s tallest building.
With those eyes,
this is nearly twice as tall as the tallest man structure in the world.
Whatever your aesthetic apprehensions may be,
that’s cool, and it was cool.
It inspired awe in people.
So is that the point?
Is that enough of a point to justify the visual space it takes up
the amount of resources and man hours it used?
Those critics who felt as though feats of engineering need to have a practical goal
still lined up to see the city from that height.
The pursuit of the seemingly useless inspired wonder,
even in the naysayers,
and that wonder could be a purpose in itself.
So yeah, maybe that wow factor can be the point.
Maybe it does justify itself.
Just like the moon landing inspired young future scientists, this,
no doubt this inspired more than a few minds.
Additionally in order to reach this height,
innumerable engineering problems
that had never been confronted before had to be overcome.
No elevator, for example, had ever traveled at an angle quite
like this and under these constraints
The precision to have these four legs come to a completely level first landing,
and other similar tasks resulted in
engineers developing new techniques.
Eiffel didn’t wait for a practical circumstance
to confront these problems,
he solve them out with this project
and solved them with his team preemptively
So, in order to achieve new heights of knowledge
That pun is both intended and I understand boring
The people of Paris were asked to
withhold their apprehensions and concerns for a brief time.
As a result, the world realized
that the awe, inspiration, and curiousity
a painting can inspire
can also be found in piece of innovative engineering-
That the imagination of an engineer is no less spectacular than a sculptor.
The tower was only supposed to occupy this space for twenty years,
but this lesson has proved more durable than that
and it’s good to remind ourselves of this
from time to time by looking at this with fresh eyes.
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Thanks for watching.
OK Cherubs, this is the Eiffel Tower.