Old and new; where restoration deviates from replication.

How 3D software can help us.

Some might think that the Notre Dame would look the same when rebuilt after the devastating fire; but architects from around the world are suggesting that Notre Dame be reconstructed with modern elements.

3D scanning will help us to fit together the new ideas with the old ideas.

We have plenty of photographs of the outside and possibly a lot of the inside of Notre Dame; however, It is unlikely most of the photographers pointed their cameras at the bits that burnt, the timber structures high above them. There are no drawings or design and the artisans who built it have gone.

Artisans in the past age built gargoyles from knowledge alone, and the only way they’d build a new gargoyle would be from scanning it.

What would you use to rebuild if you hadn’t scanned it? It is difficult to reconstruct without photographs of the seminal information that held Notre Dame together. It’s impossible to call in the photographers of the world because the boring nuts and bolts of Notre Dame would not have been documented.

Notre Dame was built primarily with timber, masonry and ironmongery as engineering materials; using hand cut stone and timber with hand forged nails, and screws and bolts for fastenings of the finer details. The tools we use to construct buildings today are fundamentally different; there is no way that we can truly reconstruct Notre Dame in the way that it was originally built.

With scanning we have a virtual replica of the building in 3 Dimensions, whatever we can see with a scanner we can record, trace and reconstruct. We can measure the thickness and see the connection of a rafter at the ridge beam. We can record and carry out construction and design rules, We can work to accuracies of a few millimetres.

We are moving into a world where the world can be seen in 3D. A digital twin is almost as close as possible to the original. The thing you want to build can be identical to the thing that you are going to build.

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