On April 15th into the early hours of the 16th of 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was ravaged by fire during its’ reconstruction to repair the 850-year-old cathedral. Some of the wood and other building materials dates back to 1160. The current pool of renovation money equates to 950 million U.S. dollars. The most affected area was the roof, which led to its’ spire collapsing further causing more damage to the roof and interior of the building. A spire is a pyramid-like structure typically found on churches and other religious institutions.

   Andrew Tallon (famous architect) who has since passed scanned the Cathedral in 2015, Andrew incorporated laser technology to map every square inch of the cathedral. Andrew did this work with the thought in his head of one day the cathedral would need renovations and many building/renovation professionals are currently thanking him for his past efforts.

   The restoration will focus on the rebuild of the spire, the roof, and interior due to smoke, and water damage. The 400 firemen that led the effort to stop the blaze were able to preserve all valuable artifacts inside. Many architects have pledged themselves to lead the restoration efforts, which has led to them studying every inch of Tallon’s 3D scans.

   In addition, many trips to see the structure and to study the time period in which the cathedral was erected. A project titled “Inception” has received funding from the European Commission ran by Roberto Di Giulio. “the project is developing a new way to translate point clouds, such as that compiled by Vassar’s Tallon, into the type of Building Information Modeling (BIM) file that architects can use in their work, or that can be used to present a building in a virtual-reality context. CAD and BIM are similar in the sense it shows a digital mock-up of a subject, and you are able to design and play with it. CAD is different from BIM because CAD is designed for industrial design of mechanical and electrical assemblies. Where BIM is designed for architects and construction professionals.

The Notre Dame Cathedral brought awareness to the importance of laser scanning for historical preservation and pre-construction documentation in general.  Using Leica Geo-systems, a professor created documentation that will valuable forever.

Connor Iwanicki
Robotic Imaging, AEC