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PHEND is a French collaborative research project funded by the ANR (ANR-20-CE38-0014). Partners in the project include researchers from a wide range of disciplines, all with an interest in the sonic history of the Notre-Dame cathedral.
When we think about great architectural achievements in history, such as Gothic cathedrals, their importance is strongly tied to their acoustic environment. The acoustics of a heritage site is an intangible consequence of the space’s tangible construction and furnishings. It is ephemeral, while also a concrete result of the physical nature of the environment. Through this project, we will explore how via measurements, research, and virtual reconstructions the acoustics of one of France’s most notable heritage spaces can be documented, reconstructed, and experienced by both researchers and the general public. Inspired by the project’s namesake (Phé, for the constellation Phoenix), the project focuses on the digital reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris, a world heritage site, bringing it back from the ashes, examining its evolution and importance in history, and working with the restoration team on its future. The consortium comprises research teams in SHS and STIC, with experience in historical, musical, architectural, and acoustical research.
As an initial production, a pre-project deliverable, coinciding with the International Year of Sound (sound2020.org) and to commemorate the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019, members of the PHEND team (researchers and sound engineers) created a virtual reconstruction of a 2013 performance recording made in the cathedral, recreating the monumental acoustics and the event.
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