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Can Notre Dame be rebuilt with 3D printing?

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Concr3De explores how to 3D-print the cathedral’s gargoyles from crumbled limestone and ash

Side view of gargoyle Photo: Concr3De

When it comes to rebuilding Notre Dame, it’s a tricky balance between honoring the past and designing a new future for the fire-ravaged cathedral. This project from Dutch 3D-printing company Concr3De manages to do both with its proposal to reprint the cathedral’s gargoyles and chimeras from material made with fire rubble.

The company envisions taking limestone from fallen gargoyles and combining it with the building’s ashes and other materials to create a powder base for the printing substrate. Using digital models captured in great detail years ago, it can then reprint the gargoyles in their original form and, in a feat of modern technology, with at least some of the original material. The company has already printed a prototype for a gargoyle replacement.

Hand holding fine dust Photo: Concr3De

“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,” Concr3De co-founder Eric Geboers told Dezeen.

This isn’t the first reimagining of what a rebuilt Notre Dame could be—architects have so far also proposed turning the cathedral’s top level into glassy structures, such as a greenhouse.