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Academics to pioneer new methods to protect architectural heritage in India

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) will apply new laser-scanning techniques to help protect architectural heritage sites in India that are prone to earthquakes.

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NTU researchers to help protect heritage sites in India

Academics to pioneer new methods to protect architectural heritage in India

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) will apply new laser-scanning techniques to help protect architectural heritage sites in India that are prone to earthquakes.

Academics in the Centre for Architecture, Urbanism and Global Heritage (CAUGH) and partners have been awarded more than £126,000 to investigate the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to scan heritage buildings in Gujarat so that they can be repaired and re-constructed following a natural disaster.

The funding was awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Project partners include the Centre for Heritage Conservation (CHC), CEPT Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) in Ahmedabad; the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome; and the Hunnarshala Foundation in India.

Principal Investigator Dr Bernadette Devilat, of the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment at NTU, said: “We will tackle post-earthquake housing re-construction of heritage areas by developing a novel approach using state-of-the-art LiDAR technologies. It is a fast, affordable and scalable method to break the unsustainable cycle of buildings' replacement and subsequent heritage erasure.

"Our aim is to build future resilience and local capacity of seismic-prone heritage areas of India by offering a digital platform to enable the design of mitigation and re-construction plans, damage and technical assessments, enhancing the re-use and repair of housing and virtually preserving its culture embedded as the record of living heritage.”

The centre’s Director Professor Gamal Abdelmonem added: “At the CAUGH, we have built up the capacities and expertise needed to face the persistent challenges of protecting heritage and supporting vulnerable people in the improvement and valuation of their built environment.”

The project will last 11 months and is expected to set the basis for future collaborations in India. The project’s launch will be open to the public on Microsoft Teams between 11am and 1pm on 11 December.

NTU academics working on this project will take part in two field trips to India next year to collect on-site LiDAR data and then work with it as a participatory strategy with local communities, academics and authorities.

A comprehensive guidance document to aid post-earthquake re-construction in heritage areas of Gujarat will be delivered as one of the research outcomes, as well as local training on the technology, workshops, presentations and publications.

Dr Devilat said: “This project is relevant because after earthquakes, heritage is not often a priority and is usually left in stand-by mode until specific solutions are developed, which may take several years, as occurred with the historic centre of L'Aquila after the 2009 earthquake; the heritage area of Amandola after the 2016 earthquake - both in Italy; or Zúñiga after the 2010 earthquake in Chile. In India, after the 1993 and 2001 earthquakes, some heritage villages were destroyed and their population was relocated, implying the forced displacement of people and communities.

"Damaged dwellings cannot be immediately reinforced to continue inhabitation, repairs are usually costly and large numbers of affected constructions make damage assessment difficult, leading to slow and sometimes out-of-context responses. Our aim is thus to exploit new uses of technology to enhance the number and quality of buildings conserved, mitigate future risks to buildings and human lives, and further impact public policies.”

The research team includes NTU Research Fellow Dr Felipe Lanuza; Co-Investigator Dr Jigna Desai, Executive Director of the CHC at CRDF; and Co-Investigator Dr Rohit Jigyasu, Project Manager Urban Heritage, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management from ICCROM. The Hunnarshala Foundation will support with community participation and provide key networks and local knowledge.

The project - A sustainable re-construction method for seismic-prone heritage areas of India based on advanced recording technologies - has been funded by the UKRI AHRC and DCMS under the joint call AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Urgency Grants highlight notice for Proposals Addressing Impacts on Cultural Heritage resulting from Natural Disasters and Climate Change.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Chris Birkle, Public Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 2310, or via email.

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students.

    NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019.

    A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2020 National Student Survey, above the sector average of 83%.

    3D for Heritage India | Project Launch  

    A sustainable re-construction method for seismic-prone heritage areas of Gujarat, India, based on advanced recording technologies

    We are proud to announce the start of our new AHRC/DCMS funded Research Project at the Centre for Architecture, Urbanism and Global Heritage, Nottingham Trent University; in collaboration with experts from ICCROM, the Centre for Heritage Conservation at CRDF and our Project Partner, the Hunnarshala Foundation. The seminar will introduce the project's aims and scope, including presentations of the research team's previous experience and contribution to the project, with a round table and a Q&A session at the end. Please find the poster and programme attached. Feel free to disseminate.

    Friday 11 December 2020, 11: 00 UK | 12 : 00 CET | 16 : 30 India

    Link to the launch event https://bit.ly/3lCdNKQ

    The event is open to everyone following the link above, either with an MS Teams account or anonymously. Questions can be posted via chat and will be addressed by the speakers at the end of the seminar. You can find more details on our website www.3d4heritageindia.com - we look forward to having you next Friday!

    Project Abstract

    In response to the persistent challenges facing post-earthquake housing reconstruction of heritage areas, such as rapid damage assessment, buildings' replacement and replica-leading to displaced population and heritage loss, the project will develop a novel approach using state-of-the-art LiDAR technologies. It is a fast, affordable, and scalable method to break the unsustainable cycle of buildings' replacement and subsequent heritage erasure. The aim is to build future resilience and local capacity of seismic-prone heritage areas of India by offering a digital platform to enable the design of mitigation and re-construction plans, damage, and technical assessments, enhancing the re-use and repair of housing and virtually preserving its culture embedded as the record of 'living heritage'.

Academics to pioneer new methods to protect architectural heritage in India

Published on 4 December 2020
  • Category: Press office; School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment

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