How Engineers Straightened the Leaning Tower of Pisa


Con­struc­tion on the Tow­er of Pisa first began in the year 1173. By 1178, the archi­tects knew they had a prob­lem on their hands. Built on an unsteady foun­da­tion, the tow­er began to sink under its own weight and soon start­ed to lean. Medieval archi­tects tried to address the tilt. How­ev­er, it per­sist­ed and incre­men­tal­ly wors­ened over the next eight cen­turies. Then, in 1990, Ital­ian author­i­ties closed the tow­er to the pub­lic, fear­ing it might col­lapse. For the next 11 years, engi­neers worked to sta­bi­lize the struc­ture. How did they put the tow­er on a bet­ter foot­ing, as it were, while still pre­serv­ing some of its icon­ic lean? That’s the sub­ject of this intrigu­ing video by the YouTube chan­nel Prac­ti­cal Engi­neer­ing. Watch it above.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Behold a 21st-Cen­tu­ry Medieval Cas­tle Being Built with Only Tools & Mate­ri­als from the Mid­dle Ages

The Age of Cathe­drals: A Free Online Course from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty

Venice Explained: Its Archi­tec­ture, Its Streets, Its Canals, and How Best to Expe­ri­ence Them All

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