Stonehenge versus the Neighborhood Association

The Monoliths Next Door:
It began with a one-liner, a throwaway, a joke: how would you get Stonehenge past a zoning board? Jonathan Rothberg posed that question after his plans for a zinc-clad observatory were swatted down following a local zoning hearing for, among other reasons, not looking sufficiently colonial. [...]

He hopes it will be eternal, too. Dr. Rothberg gave his design and construction team an additional brief: he wanted the stones around for 10,000 years. "Ten thousand years is on the same order of magnitude as recorded history," he said.

It's likely that in 100 years the site will be under water, according to Pat Arnett, a senior engineer in New York at the consulting engineering firm of Robert Silman Associates. "But Jonathan was O.K. with that," said Mr. Arnett, whose firm designed a concrete mix for the foundations similar to those used by the ancient Romans.

Mr. Arnett used computer modeling to simulate natural stresses like enormous hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as ones on a more human scale. "It hadn't occurred to me, but Jonathan asked about vandals," he explained. "So I tested a dump truck running into the stones at 40 miles an hour. If someone is really intent on destroying the circle, it wouldn't be easy." [...]

"The issue is whether or not it's considered a structure," Ms. Hayden was also quoted as saying. "They did it without any kind of permit." Indeed, Dr. Rothberg sought no zoning approval or building permit because, he said, "my position is, if I put up a piece of art, I don't need permission."

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8 Responses:

  1. baconmonkey says:

    it's more impressive when you build stonehenge with no machenery

    • lroberson says:

      This was on discovery channel about a year ago. Very interesting and cool technique.

    • darkfrog13 says:

      Isn't a cement mixer considered machinery?

      • gfish says:

        Everyone draws the line at a different point. But this guy was trying to prove that big monoliths could be moved around without cranes, not that they could be quarried. I don't know anyone who denies that possibility, so it's just practical to cast from concrete on site. Yeah, it's more impressive to really start from rocks and sticks and bootstrap everything from there, but not many people have the time to do it.

        • darkfrog13 says:

          I didn't think anyone questioned whether people can move large monoliths without cranes either. Hasn't this been shown over and over again by researchers of the pyramids?
          Regardless, you're absolutely right, this is a recursive problem, it just depends which step you start with. Which reminds me of the self replicating robots story. According to some people robots wont be self replicating until they mine and refine the minerals to rebuild themselves. To others, if they can connect preassembled parts then it's replicating. Its just a matter of where "everyone draws the line".

  2. elainegrey says:

    particularly considering the quotation in the near last paragraph of the article, "I like to say the polished surfaces act as a mirror to the souls. So some people that are not happy get ugly reflections."

  3. aris1234 says:

    Once when driving by the real stonehenge, I saw a local famer several hundret meters down the road from it had built his own stonehenge out of bales of hay.