The destruction of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris sent the world-renowned landmark up in a tragic flock of flames. One Dutch company called Concr3de has offered to help restore the famous cathedral by 3d printing. Concr3de is a company which was founded in 2016 by Eric Geboers and Matteo Baldassari. Concr3de provides stone 3d printers for construction purposes.
Concr3de used 3D scans from their stone printers to recreate ‘Le Stryge’ which is a demon gargoyle statue that sits at the top of the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral. Le Stryge was one of the many pieces of history which were destroyed in the fire.
In order for Concr3de to recreate the Le Stryge statue, they used a mix of limestone and ash. The type of limestone that was used to rebuild the Le Stryge statue was Lutetian which was sourced from mines that have since been buried and lost under the ever-expanding city.
Later after a successful print, the newly created statue was perched in its rightful place on the Notre Dame Cathedral by an architect known as Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
Keeping History Alive
After hearing about the tragic events in Paris, the team at Concr3de thought that it would be faster and cheaper for construction if they were to help rebuild the cathedral via a 3d printer.
Eric Geboers believes that using the same materials which were left by the fire, would address some of the structural problems posed by rebuilding the historical cathedral while using some new materials as well.
Geboers also believes that by using new materials to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral, it cannot be considered a copy which would be a ‘historical forgery’. The use of new and original materials allows Notre Dame Cathedral to keep and maintain its historical place.
Concr3de wishes to recycle as many of the original materials as possible
The timber roof which was made from oak trees was unfortunately also devastated by the fire. Concr3de is helping to restore these by reprinting the large oak beams with the same source materials as used in the original construction.
In Concr3de’s proposal to restore the famous church, they said that they wanted to rebuild it using as much of the original materials as they possibly could. They even said that the limestone that was damaged by the blaze was repairable.
“We would break down the limestone to the right grade and the fire damage would not have an effect,” stated Geboers.
Concr3ede used scans of the height of the cathedral which was easily obtainable on the internet and printed using an Armadillo White 3d printer.
“It’s a custom inkjet 3D printer that is fine-tuned to work with stone and stone-like materials,” he said. “It prints with 0.1-millimetre precision and the cool thing about these printers is that any geometry is possible without the need for supports. It also allows for significant material customisation,” Geboers goes on to say.
Geboers also believes that this method could be used to print replacement stones and other things that went missing in the fire, he goes on to explain that it would probably be a cheaper option.
“It would most likely be cheaper to print the lost pieces than to cut new stone,” he said.
How long will it take to restore the Notre Dame Cathedral?
The team at Concr3de believe that using this technique may allow for full restoration in as little as five years, despite experts who believe that the reconstruction could take up to decades of time.
Les Compagnons du Devoir, of France’s manual trades organisation, warned people that it could take many years to find, hire and train the countless numbers of stonecutters required for the project.
In Concr3de’s proposal, they suggested that in order to save time and labour costs, they could 3d print the smaller, more intricate and complex pieces and hire highly skilled stonemasons to fit the 3d printed stones.
Since the tragedy, over $1 billion has been pledged by people to help rebuild the ancient landmark. This large sum of money almost eliminates the financial problems that they may incur. The only problem now is choosing which parts of the cathedral to work on first.
The French prime minister Edouard Philippe has suggested holding an international competition which allows people to design a potentially more new and improved version of the Notre Dame Cathedral.