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Learning from Loss: Digitally Reconstructing the Tr?sor des Chartes of the Sainte-Chapelle


Digital reconstruction offers a compelling way for researchers to learn about lost architectural monuments. The potential of digital reconstruction lies in its ability to marry received facts with informed conjecture, granting the researcher a flexible 3D environment to test out competing theories. With these possibilities in mind, I began an ongoing project to digitally reconstruct the thirteenth-century Tr?sor des Chartes of the Sainte-Chapelle in the spring of 2015. The following paper analyzes the sources used and fully explains the decisions made in the reconstruction of the Tr?sor. Ultimately, this study investigates how the reconstruction process for this model can advance new theories about the previously unknowable monument. In that sense, the visualization itself comes to occupy a secondary role: the model is used as a vehicle through which evidence is collated, interrogated, and extrapolated to identify lingering questions about the Tr?sor’s architecture and important areas of continuing research. Through this paper I hope to demonstrate that the Tr?sor was indeed conceived and constructed in tandem with the Sainte-Chapelle, and was an integral feature of its design.

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