C+S March 2023 Vol. 9 Issue 3 (web)

During its more than eight centuries, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has seen, hosted, and survived more than its fair share of historical events and disasters. Perhaps most harrowing of these was the fire that engulfed the cathedral’s roof and spire in April of 2019. By the time the blaze was controlled, Notre Dame’s famous spire had collapsed, most of the roof was destroyed, and there was extensive damage to the upper portions of the structure’s walls. Images of this cultural icon burning elicited an outpouring of grief from around the world, which quickly reverberated as shockwaves of support and aid. One of the most prominent examples of this aid came from the AEC industry as rebuilding efforts began immediately fol - lowing the fire. Led by its CEO Andrew Anagnost and Vice President of AEC strategy Nicolas Mangon, Autodesk aided in the rebuilding efforts by using their technology to create a 3D BIM model of Notre Dame Cathedral before the fire. With tools provided by Autodesk, the process of cleaning and scanning the structure began. During this time, Autodesk continued to support the teams working on the structure–offering tools and advisors to anyone working on the project. This period of the restoration process lasted nearly three years, with the modeling sequence and cleanup ef- forts being completed in the Fall of 2022. Using this BIM model, the teams working to restore the structure to its previous state are better equipped to manage construction sequences and logistics as well as calculate fluid dynamics for stability. While the structure is being restored to its former self, its immediate surroundings will be updated to support its continued operations in the modern era. Running parallel with the restoration efforts, the City of Paris launched a design competition in 2021 to reimagine the urban landscape surrounding the cathedral. The project site includes the fore- court of the cathedral and its underground space as well as areas over the bank of the Seine River. The immediate surroundings of Notre Dame constitute one of the most heavily trafficked areas in the world. Largely untouched for centuries, this area now creates problems for its modern usage, resulting in things such as traffic and congestion. With cleanup and scanning taking place and the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, the lack of visitor traffic in the area provided a good opportunity to re-envision what the space could be. Four international multidisciplinary teams–led by architects, urban planners, and landscape architects–were invited to submit their design proposals. Autodesk was the technology partner for the competition, providing technological expertise throughout the competition. Au - todesk’s BIM solutions were used to create a 3D model of the exist - From the (Under)ground Up: A New Vision for the Notre Dame Cathedral By Luke Carothers

ing area surrounding the cathedral. This model allowed the teams to understand the unique constraints of the site. The teams again utilized Autodesk’s BIM technology and advisors to create photorealistic visu - alizations of their design proposals. Furthermore, the digital documents produced during the competition were available to the four teams, the City of Paris, and Autodesk, which allowed them to collaborate in real time on the Autodesk Construction Cloud platform. In June of 2022, the City of Paris announced that the team led by Bu - reau Bas Smets was selected as the winner of the design competition. Led by landscape architect Bas Smets, urban planners GRAU, and heritage collaborators Neufville-Gayet, the winning design is exten - sive–reimagining the square and underground parking spaces beneath it. This reimagining also includes the archeological crypt, the Jean XXIII square located behind Notre Dame, the riverbanks, and some adjacent streets. A major part of this redesign focuses on the areas below the cathe - dral’s forecourt. Under the forecourt is a large parking structure that was built in the 1970s, which has fallen out of use. The winning design by Bureau Bas Smets seeks to breathe life into this space by turning it into a reception area for visitors to the cathedral. This new design creates a passageway with an area of 3,170 meters for such a purpose. To create this passageway, alterations will be made to the parking structure such as the removal of the immediate ceiling, which will create a four meter high and 60 meter long entrance hall for the cathedral. Furthermore, the parking structure’s concrete pillars– which will flank this new entrance hallway– will be sandblasted to



March 2023

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