Notre Dame de Paris tour through the lens of Augmented Reality in an immersive exhibition at the National Building Museum

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Notre Dame de Paris

The national building museum has announced a 360-degree augmented reality immersive experience on 15th April 2022 of the 850-year-old history of Notre Dame de Paris and its ongoing restoration due to the 2019 fire. A French startup Histovery has designed and produced the installation in collaboration with the public institution in charge of the restoration and conservation of the cathedral. The exhibits are exclusively sponsored by L’Oreal. 

Ahead of the third anniversary of the 2019 fire incident at Notre Dame de Paris, the exhibition is scheduled to commence on the same day till September 26, 2022. This event is the first technology-driven exhibition organized at the National Building Museum.

Notre Dame de Paris
Fire Incident at Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019©

Histovery has developed an augmented reality touch screen tablet called HistoPad for every visitor to navigate the exhibition. This handy device transports the visitors back in time and paints an interactive and immersive experience. Visitors can choose from eleven different languages and explore the experience of their choice, such as the construction of the cathedral in the middle ages, the erection of the iconic Viollet-le-Duc spire, or witnessing the coronation of Emperor Napoleon I. 

Bruno de Sa Moreira, Co-founder and CEO of History says, “The National Building Museum is the perfect venue for this exhibition to debut in the US”

The museum was established to embrace and preserve building art and kindle curiosity about the process of building design. This exhibition serves this purpose and also promotes the role of innovation in programming in the building industry. The design is made to appeal to visitors of all ages with a self-guided virtual treasure hunt, especially for children. It is for them to explore the history of Notre-Dame de Paris and identify different related objects embedded within the augmented reality scenes.

Notre Dame de Paris

The augmented experience is accentuated through elements like stained-glass transfers on the Museum’s historic windows, audio of Notre Dame’s organs and tolling bells, and Vinyl replicas of the cathedral’s flooring, that are reflective of the actual ambiance of Notre-Dame de Paris and transport the visitor to that multi-sensory feeling.

The portals and visual cues for the histopad are taken from the large photo panels and 3d-models of Notre Dame de Paris cathedral and its intricate detailing including a statue and full-size chimera, that are used to articulate the augmented reality experience of this 12th-century marvel. The screen provides options to scroll through different eras in the history of the cathedral and select options on each screen for more details about any particular era. The walk through the construction process enlightens the visitors with the architectural and structural detail of this beautiful creation.

Notre Dame de Paris
Notre-Dame’s western rose window©

The exhibition also puts on display the tragic day of April 15, 2019, when Notre Dame de Paris caught fire destroying two-thirds of its roof and shattering the world-famous spire. It brings the visitors to experience closely the brave work of the Paris fire brigade who worked tirelessly to preserve as much of the building as possible. The major focus of this exhibition is the current restoration of this masterpiece and takes visitors on a ride of experiencing the reconstruction of this sacred cathedral and conceiving its intricate architecture using historical and scientific evidence.

Written by Aastha Trivedi

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