This is an English translation of the article “Relevé et Restitutions – Prieuré Sainte-Gemme” – A Guest Post by Andreï Vlad.
Damaged old buildings, or those in ruins, often present an aspect different from their original appearance.
In a world dominated by images, the need to visualize and reconstruct these monuments is indispensable. Since the end of the 20th Century, the graphic representation of old buildings has expanded dramatically. This is due to the development of audiovisual media and the advance of new technologies.
Restitution (Reconstruction) is “a representation by drawing or a model of the alleged appearance of a mutilated or destroyed building. It is often hypothetical construct a building or part of a vanished building, but also the recovery of an alleged original state.” Pérouse de Montclos J.-M. Architecture. Méthode et vocabulaire, éd. du patrimoine, Paris, 7e éd. 2009
Old texts have preserved the record of the major donations for the Prieuré Sainte-Gemme, but the history of the construction of the monastery is blank. Modern graphic representations of the church’s history are rare and only approximations.
This description of the remaining parts of the monastery began in the early 2000’s and was designed according to two principles: the pursuit of accuracy and understanding of the monument. Reading and study of existing buildings allowed for the representation – plan, sections, elevations and perspective – of the current state of the church and buildings of the old monastery. A numerical 3D model was created by modeling existing structures. These modeled structures are presented in the form of a video virtual tour or as panoramic still images.
By modeling existing buildings, we can create reconstructions of Sainte-Gemme as both drawings and animations. The original model was developed based on surveys and studies of the building itself. Missing structures from the past are found in reports of archaeological excavations and a few old photographs. The architectural inferences are clarified by detailed comparison with nearby monuments of the same type and of the same era.
In our renderings and animations, the missing parts of the buildings were represented by simple volumes – only the estimated proportions are displayed. These estimations are presented as pencil sketches or as a wash, requiring further investigations to complete and refine.
Three periods of the evolution of the monastery have been reconstituted: the first half of the twelfth century (the building of the old church, that, though adapted, is still used); the end of the century (when the monastery was finished); and before the destruction of Wars of Religion (when the monastery was at its maximum extent).
The video animations allow us to move through the reconstructed buildings and to visit the most important spaces inside the monastery; the church, the cloister, and the chapter house.
The images are created for a general viewer, above all the public. The reconstructions constitute a teaching tool and a means of instruction for those who intend to study the architectural heritage.
These reconstructions are intended to support for investigations: the virtual representation of the monument will be a tool for future research and investigations that may support or challenge the historical proposals already made.
The monastery today : http://youtu.be/t_rtSs5rv2U
The reconstruction of the Prieuré Sainte-Gemme at the end of the 12th century: http://youtu.be/AZAC6u5g2Qk
Internet website : http://prieurestegemme17.jimdo.com