The challenge of faithfully recreating parts of the fire damaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris could be substantially aided by a REA managed Horizon 2020 project, INCEPTION.
After the shocking fire of mid-April tore through an icon of European culture and history, media attention quickly turned to the prior work of American art historian Professor Andrew Tallon. Using laser scanners, he had captured over a billion points of data to create an incredibly detailed 3D image of the cathedral, which may now be one of the keys to being able to accurately reconstruct the fire-damaged parts.
However, one key question has remained - although the raw data was made readily available, how could it be turned into something accessible for the multitude of participants in the forthcoming rebuilding process?
The answer may lie in the recently concluded EU-funded project INCEPTION.
With a funding of €3.99 million under Horizon 2020, and spanning four years, INCEPTION's aim has been to create dynamic, highly intricate, yet open and accessible 3D models of artefacts, buildings and social environments. It has sought to create the toolkit necessary to record priceless European cultural heritage, and document how it is evolving over time. By coincidence, just one week before the tragic blaze, EU Ministers of Culture signed a special declaration of cooperation on advancing the digitisation of Cultural Heritage.
In the case of the Notre Dame, it was one of INCEPTION's core goals that would be particularly relevant to the forthcoming reconstruction process. The project sought to use new standardised systems to present their scans in a virtual reality context, so that the data gathered would be accessible for all user groups and interoperable on different hardware and software. To achieve this, the project team developed an open-standard Semantic Web platform for Building Information Models for Cultural Heritage (HBIM).
Roberto Di Giulio of the University of Ferrara in Italy, leader of the project, explained that if Professor Tallon's data were used on the INCEPTION platform, it is possible that architects could use the standards-based system to convert virtual building blocks generated from the data into the real ones needed to create highly accurate reconstructions of the damaged parts.
It may therefore be that this EU-funded project comes to the fore in the coming months and years as it makes the leap from its previous demonstration cases during development, which included Cypriot churches and Spanish castles, to giving us the tools to reconstruct one of Europe’s most important cultural and historical icons.
12 June 2019