Could video games and 3D laser scanning services help rebuild Notre Dame?

Restoring one of the most famous churches in the world

In April of 2019,  the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire and caused extensive damage. The “forest” roof, which was made of wooden beams, went up in flames and nearly collapsed.

Notre Dame was built in the 12th and 13th centuries. It is one of the most famous churches in the world, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features an intricate internal roofing structure, known as the “forest” for its vast array of ancient timbers that the original builders used to support the roof. During the fire, which was started by construction work,  the roof burned. Firefighters managed to prevent it from collapsing, but not before almost the entire wooden structure was reduced to ash.

Notre Dame is the cultural icon of France. All roads in France originate at Notre Dame. Leaving it unrestored is simply not an option. But how could this complex and old structure be rebuilt?

Video games to the rescue?

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is a video game that was released in 2014. It takes place in Paris, and includes detailed 3D models of the Notre Dame Cathedral. The design team focused on historical accuracy and made detailed 3D models of Paris using 3D laser scanning services.  3D scanning services create 3D models of objects by capturing their shape and structure.

A 3D scanner uses a laser or other device to scan an object, then detailed 3D models are created. 3D scanners can also capture minute details of objects with great accuracy, which makes them useful for architectural rebuilding. 3D scanning services can be used on historical landmarks and may be useful for rebuilding Notre Dame.

Could these 3D models be used to rebuild Notre Dame?

Unfortunately, no. The team that designed Assassin’s Creed: Unity used 3D scanners to create very accurate 3D models of the Notre Dame Cathedral, yes. But the models were modified for the game.  They were not meant to be used for rebuilding the cathedral.

However, 3D scanning services could be useful for rebuilding Notre Dame. The detailed 3D models they create could help architects and builders understand the structure of the building and how it was built. This information could help with the reconstruction process. In addition, a laser scan can capture minute details of objects, which is important for rebuilding a structure as complex as the Notre Dame Cathedral.

It’s too early to say whether 3D scanning services will be used to rebuild Notre Dame, but they could be a valuable tool in the reconstruction process.

Leave a Comment