Replicas of the entrance arch of the ancient Temple of Bel in Palmyra, Syria, will be recreated using a giant 3D printer for World Heritage Week in London and New York. The recreations are intended to defy the actions of extremist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which destroyed a large portion of the nearly 2,000-year-old temple building in August of last year. The arch, which is nearly 50 feet high, is one of the few relics standing after ISIS sought to systematically destroy Palmyra in an effort to erase the pre-Islamic history of the Middle East. https://twitter.com/middleeasthist/status/683281394202742784 Before the conflict in Syria ignited in 2011, Palmyra’s rich cultural heritage drew more than 150,000 tourists each year. The temple, which was founded in A.D. 32 and consecrated to the Mesopotamian god Bel, was exemplary of the fusion of Middle Eastern, Greek, and Roman influences and was considered to be one of the most important sites in Palmyra. The temple was converted into a Christian church during the Byzantine era, and then into a mosque when Islam arrived around the 7th century. In recent times, the Temple of Bel was an important cultural venue for Syrians, acting as a setting for concerts and events. The Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA), a joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford, and Dubai’s Museum of the Future that promotes the use of digital imaging and 3D printing in archaeology and conservation, is taking the lead on the recreation efforts. Last year, the organization collaborated with UNESCO in the distribution of 3D cameras so that volunteer photographers could document threatened cultural objects in areas of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. The images are to be uploaded to a “million-image database” for use in research, educational programs, and ultimately 3D replication, as in the case of the Temple of Bel. Although the Temple of Bel was demolished before photographers with 3D cameras could capture it, researchers at the IDA have been able to create 3D approximations of the temple using ordinary photographs. The full-size replica arches, to be made from stone powder and a lightweight composite, will be created off-site and then assembled in Trafalgar Square and Times Square for display this April.
Posts tagged with "UNESCO World Herigate Site":
Sitio Eriazo—a Chilean collective of recent graduates from theater, art, and architecture schools—worked with the Oslo School of Architecture and Design's Scarcity and Creativity Studio to recover an abandoned urban space in Valparaíso, Chile. First, the team cleared waste to attract less vermin, and provisional closures were installed in the four points of street access. Then, the Wave—a flexible performance space for theater, circus, and music—was installed. Wooden stairs and seating sit upon staggered ribs and beams. Underneath of the undulating seating is a semi-shaded space where food is grown, prepared, and distributed to audience members. Currently, Sitio Eriazo's audiences reach up to 100 people. The Wave is also a space for workshops and community projects. Sitio Eriazo uses workshops to promote art and cultural activities and to strengthen Valparaíso's local identity. In 2003, Valparaíso was titled a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO described Valparaíso as, “In its natural amphitheatre-like setting, the city is characterized by a vernacular urban fabric adapted to the hillsides that are dotted with a great variety of church spires. It contrasts with the geometrical layout utilized in the plain. The city has well preserved its interesting early industrial infrastructures, such as the numerous ‘elevators’ on the steep hillsides.” Sitio Eriazo and the Scarcity and Creativity Studio not only recovered Valparaíso’s heritage within an abandoned lot but have made it a tool for cultural growth.
In the summer of 2013, Mt. Fuji was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The designation was of the cultural rather than the natural variety, in part because of the way the mountain has "inspired artists and poets." Japanese architect Shigeru Ban plans to add a quite literal architectural chapter to this legacy of inspiration in the form of a visitor center commemorating the mountain's recently-minted status. Ban's design takes Fuji's iconic silhouette as its centerpiece and then inverts it, generating an upside-down lattice cone surrounded by a 46,000-square-foot glass cube. The building is set to be located in Shizuoka prefecture of Japan and will offer views of the nearby mountain. A surrounding pool of water reflects the structure's central cone, restoring the right-side up vision of its formal source material. A committee lead by the Ohara Museum of Art selected Ban's plan ahead of 238 competing entries for the project. Construction on the $23.5 million structure will begin in 2015.