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Notre Dame’s Eternal Faith in Technological Innovation

April 15, 2019: A fire caused devastating damage to Notre-Dame de Paris. The flames engulfed parts of the church’s history as well as offering a choice for the future: See Notre Dame only as it has been or envision Notre Dame for what it can be based on what it has been before.

Many, I believe, favor the latter.

Jimmy’s Daily Planet covered this tragic fire from a myriad of angles for that entire week in mid-April, which continues today in order to shine a light on a church that still shines its light on so many. In recent days, the doors of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris have been opened for the public to see via exclusive media footage seen below.

Given the sight of the flames doing its worst to Notre Dame, it’s remarkable just how much of the famed cathedral was protected and maintained. It will take a long time to restore Notre Dame back to its former glory. In just three months time, it’s encouraging to see — from the inside — that this iconic gothic Parisian structure will rise again. The doors will reopen to the public and people will return with a renewed faith not only in the church but also in people and organizations who rushed to help in various ways locally and around the world in the fire’s immediate aftermath.

Technological innovation started building Notre Dame’s foundation in 1163 — continuing for the next two hundred years — and it appears as if technological innovations in the 21st century will help rebuild Notre Dame in the coming few years for future generations to pray and/or visit and look around in awe.

P.S. I can’t be the only one who thinks there’s a Dan Brown novel based somewhere within or around this consequential event that was focused on a global religious icon that captured the world’s attention, right? 


The Many Forms of Unity for Notre Dame

Pictures say a thousand words. Videos say a hundred thousand words. And a particular video game just might reveal the exact right amount of detail that could render someone speechless.

The fire in Notre Dame Cathedral has brought us together, evidenced by the staggering $1 billion that’s been raised this week for rebuilding the famed Parisian church. The world was watching this past Monday in horror as an inferno engulfed Notre Dame — which was particularly devastating for those witnessing the fire in person — and in addition to saving priceless works of religious art and relics, the architectural struggle begins to restore the church. Surely there are several traditional reference points to assist in this incredible task.

But what about untraditional sources of information? What if there is a high-definition, digital record of Notre Dame’s intricate Gothic architectural beauty that is discoverable by the title ‘Assassin’s Creed Unity’?

Your son or nephew may possess a helpful key to rediscovering Notre Dame’s past for the future.

Who would have thought?

“The free offer for Assassin’s Creed Unity is a way for Ubisoft to share the cathedral in its original form to as many as possible. As a French company, it put a lot of love into its rendition and is donating €500,000 ($564,000, £433,000) to help with the restoration.”
–Ryan Maskell, ‘Ubisoft is giving refunds for poorly timed Assassin’s Creed Unity purchases,’ PCGamesN online 

The intersection of popular culture in the form of film, TV and video games with real-world situations/reality is just getting busier by the day. Recall the dedicated interest of Christopher Nolan and Co. to work with famed American theoretical physicist Kip Thorne to visually create a black hole for the 2014 science fiction film ‘Interstellar’ that turned out to be pretty damn close to the first image of a black hole in space. Now a video game could assist in rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral. 

While I’m not surprised by this revelation, I am nonetheless at a slight loss for words in happiness that a video game can help restore Notre Dame Cathedral in 2019.

An Architect’s Automation Atrophy?

Ladies and gentlemen, technology is preparing to challenge the burgeoning HGTV empire without even lifting a finger.

It’s hard to believe that the age definitively known as the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) was just the tip of the iceberg of what would come concerning the development of and progress of advanced machinery to be used by humans. And the key phrase in the previous sentence is, “to be used by humans.” In most circumstances, technology is perceived by many to be helpful when it merely assists people. However, with increasing frequency, technology is not merely assisting people, but gradually (and drastically, in some cases) replacing important human actions and interactions.

Example: Instead of talking on the phone or in-person, most of us will text each other. There are some good and bad elements to this communicative tool.

Another Example: Instead of relying solely on our memory to remember a specific occasion, we take a picture and then print that memory to be framed. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, that’s a great way to recall special moments in our lives. Photographs are a powerful reminder of the great things technology can achieve.

The only problem with the latter example is that once we learned and celebrated the benefits of what a printer can do, we opened the future up to printing’s endless possibilities, potentially positive and negative.

This is where architects come into play.

The phenomenon known as HGTV has swept the nation and should be directly (and indirectly) credited with the spike in home construction and renovation. Sparking the curiosity of its viewers, shows like Fixer Upper (Chip and Joanna), Property Brothers (Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott), Love It Or List It (Hilary and David), Flip or Flop (Christina and Tarek) and House Hunters are inspiring people to reconsider what their house can truly be with bursts of creativity as wild as their imaginations allow. Naturally, there were big idea thinking individuals who have been observing this trend. And with these observations came an “a ha” moment that will likely generate a “wow!” reaction.

Very cool!

However, once you get past the impressively efficient and acutely detailed building capabilities of a 3-D printer that prints, well, a house, you might begin to contemplate what this means for construction workers and home builders beyond the blueprint writing architects and the hosts of popular HGTV shows. Because, as the video above shows, there appears to be minimal interference from people throughout this 24-hour printing session.

That’s right, the word “printing” may become commonplace in home construction. Insane.

Consequentially, it seems as if the home printer is not so much assisting people, but replacing people in previously held jobs by, you guessed it, people. Is this how we want technology to evolve in the near future? Of course, this will take substantial time to integrate with lots of red tape, cost and benefit analyses and so forth. The change will not happen in the immediate future, but a seismic shift regarding the role of the architect and home builders will likely occur within 20 years. The fact that a 3-D printer constructed a home in 24 hours in 2017 is incredible.

Only time will tell as to whether this 3-D printing of a home will be an assisting or replacing technology. In the meantime, a key dilemma for architects and home builders in the future is going to be trying to explain why home renovations continue to take so long…

Upon deeper thought, home owners may be perfectly content with the option of replacing those garbage “unforeseen and uncontrollable” timeline excuses by feet-dragging contractors with a 3-D printer that can just be, simply put, turned on.

The Great (Protected) Fall of China

And you thought only Superman could see through things?

Vertigo sufferers may not need apply for directions to the longest and highest glass bridge in the world. Eye-popping views are not uncommon with bridges of all shapes and sizes, but China has clearly raised the thrill-factor to a new level. And, impressively, this ground-breaking sight was constructed for the everyday visitor. That means experience climbing Mt. Everest is not a prerequisite, which was a courteous touch on the part of Haim Dotan. The Israeli architect has certainly made his impression in far away China.

The six-meter wide bridge stretches 430 meters over a 300-meter-deep valley between two cliffs in the beautiful Zhangjiajie Park, said to have inspired the scenery for the sci-fi movie “Avatar.”

CNN also reported that a bungee jump will be set-up at the bridge. YouTube videos will follow shortly…

Mr. Dotan’s imaginative creation will also be conducive to the artistic, fashion-forward and, quite frankly, the brave: Fashion runway shows.

Safety inspections may be slightly more frequent than other, more pedestrian bridges. However, seeing and speaking with safety professionals and engineers might be nice, even if to just put visitors at ease.

That would be the transparent approach.