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Rebuilding Notre Dame with 3D Printing

Dezeen reports on an intriguing new proposal concerning the rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral.  Following the fire it barely survived last month, $1.12 billion has been pledged to rebuild the world landmark.

For its part, Dutch company Concr3de has proposed an innovative and sensitive method for using that money: 3D printing.  Already, Concr3de has 3D printed a replacement gargoyle.  “Concr3de, which was founded by architects Eric Geboers and Matteo Baldassari in 2016, used 3D scans to reproduce Le Stryge, a demon statue atop the roof of the gothic cathedral, which collapsed in the fire.”  The team used an Armadillo White, a small 30 x 30 x 30 cm printer.

As Geboers explains: “we saw the spire collapse and thought we could propose a way to combine the old materials with new technology to help speed up the reconstruction and make a cathedral that is not simply a copy of the original, but rather a cathedral that would show its layered history proudly.”

Indeed, Geboers “believes using the materials left behind after the fire would address some philosophical problems posed by rebuilding Notre Dame to the original design while using new materials.”

“The Lutetian Limestone originally used to build Notre Dame, along with much of Paris, was taken from mines, which have since been buried under the expanding city. Large oak beams, which made up the now-destroyed timber roof of the cathedral were made from trees felled in the 13th century.”

If the project were to use “Concr3de’s proposal, this would allow the original material of the damaged building to be used in its reconstruction.  Even the limestone damaged by the high temperatures of the blaze could be used in the process.”

The team’s White Armadillo 3D printer is “a custom inkjet 3D printer fine tuned to work with stone and stone-like materials.  It prints with 0.1-millimeter precision…any geometry is possible without the need for supports.  It also allows for significant material customization.”

“3D printing the more intricate pieces [of the restoration project] would address France’s labor shortage, suggested Concr3de, while still employing existing skilled stonemasons to fix the printed pieces into place.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Dezeen

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