Rebuilding Paris with SketchUp

Last fall, students in Michael Davis’ Digital Paris course took part in an experiment to see how 3D modelling might shed light on Gothic architecture. Working from schematic drawings, students extruded simple cross sections into columns, arches, bases and tracery. Today, students can get help with SketchUp during staffed hours at the Media Lab or by appointment.

Lusha Sun's recreation of the Chapter House at the Church of the Cordeliers

Lusha Sun’s recreation of the Chapter House at the Church of the Cordeliers

The use of SketchUp was inspired by a collaboration between Professor Davis and myself to rebuild the Church of the Cordeliers from “sketchy” evidence. Our work (shown below and in fly-through) revealed several areas where visual depictions diverged from reality.

The Church of the Cordeliers in modern context, courtesy of Google Earth

The Church of the Cordeliers in modern context, courtesy of Google Earth

Interior looking East during the 19th century demolition

Interior looking East during the 19th century demolition

Reconstructed interior, showing a much narrower nave.

Reconstructed interior, showing a narrower nave and imagined choir screen

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