The technology used to rebuild Notre-Dame of Paris after the fire

They have passed two years from one of the fires that we will remember for a long time: that of Notre Dame Cathedral, among the most emblematic symbols of Paris. Already immediately after the fire, the experts had created a digital construction site to understand how to manage the damage and where to intervene first in the building. This summer, however, this digital construction site it will become real and physical, using all possible technologies for the reconstruction of the much loved cathedral.

The digital reconstruction of Notre-Dame

The fire occurred on April 15 2019 it destroyed two thirds of the roof of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, including the nineteenth-century spire. Experts like scientists and architects they immediately set to work to understand how to raise the situation and give a new life to the symbolic monument of Paris.

A huge reconstruction workAnd. We started from the digital construction site, which began the day after the fire and after two years, that is this summer, i will finally start restoration.

The work of the French National Center for Scientific Research

Livio De Luca is research director in Cnrs (French national center for scientific research) and the mixed research unit Map (Models and simulations for architecture and heritage). With his team of 30 experts commissioned by Cnrs and the French Ministry of Culture, the Italian computer architect, who has worked in France for 20 years, was responsible for the digital reconstruction of the cathedral. He used a project on 3D model proposed by him to recreate the immense building from various resources, including point clouds and photographs.

The starting point for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame

One of the key tools of the developed system is called aioli. It is a collaborative and three-dimensional semantic annotation platform that allows you to bring together scientific data from multiple actors. The starting point was the different ones surveys made before the fire

In previous years, several scholars had documented Notre-Dame. Among them, Andrew Tallow, professor of art and architecture at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, in the United States, had digitizedor the cathedral con laser scanner in 3D. Tallow passed away shortly before the catastrophe, but his wife made the entire archive available. These data, as well as those of other subsequent surveys, were precious for the start of the scientific site.

The ultimate goal

A very ambitious work that the CNRS has set out to implement. In fact, the final goal is to reconstruct the cathedral of Notre-Dame identical to the one that was lost.

Expert Livio De Luca says that they were taken from the fire thousands of photographs. Vaults, naves, nuclei, transepts: everything has been visually repertory down to the smallest detail. A calculation software integrated this data, designed by the Cnrs team, gathered for this reconstruction work. This has allowed the creation of dedicated indexing algorithms, which refer to all this digital data and allow continuity between images.

Thus, the addition of data makes the three-dimensional copy of Notre-Dame possible: thus a digital puzzle faithfully reproduced to the millimeter. In this way it is possible to keep track of both the medieval structure of Notre-Dame both of the modern one. The architect Viollet-le-Duc rebuilt part of the cathedral roof in the XNUMXth century, after the riots of the French Revolution.

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The technology used for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame

To photograph every single point of the monument, explains De Luca, the architects first used a drone, which had a room oriented upwards. Thanks to it, thesoffit of the vaults. And where it was not possible to pass with the drone, the experts used "cable cam”, Ie robots connected to a cable. They photographed at 360 degrees all the remains of Notre Dame, both those fallen and those that remained intact in the vaults.

Experts have performed three-dimensional cartography every week, as the workers removed the debris. The remains of the fire will then be transferred, within a few weeks, to a hangar near Paris and made available to the many researchers involved in the restoration project.

Some blocks of stones were placed on a rotating plate and photographed 400 times by a 3D scanner created by a CNRS start-up to reconstruct their composition and origin and remodel them thanks to a 3D printer. The technologies used were conceived exclusively for this construction site. It is a world first that brought together various experts from all over the world, including the Cnr of Pisa and the Bruno Kessler Foundation of Trento.

A digital archive accessible to all

A very important goal, and in part achieved, is the creation of a digital archive that is accessible to the general public. Thanks to these in-depth works it will be possible to compare the various states of the cathedral and allow choices regarding the materials and techniques to be used for the restoration.

When will the cathedral reopen in the future? In recent weeks, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has foreseen one reopening for worship by April 16, 2024.

The documentary Rebulding Notre-Dame

From the time of tragedy last April, the symbolic church of the city of Paris was closed to the public. This is due to the intense operations of restoration, destined to restore the Cathedral to its ancient splendor. Thanks to Rebuilding Notre Dame, virtual reality documentary by TARGO, available on Oculus TV for Oculus Quest, however, we will be able to return inside the building, visiting it in virtual reality.

The news relating to the tragic events of last April kicked off it all. The director of the opera talked about it Chloe Rochereuil:

“We wanted everyone to remember that feeling of helplessness felt when we saw the Cathedral in flames. The collection of different films in different languages ​​is a way to reflect the global impact of this event - suddenly the whole world worried about the fate of the Cathedral and followed the events live. This was to be our starting point “.

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