By Lalupa, via Wikimedia Commons
Church of St Maria Maddalena, Rome
FARO's 3D scanning technology has played a pivotal role in a major ecclesiastical restoration project in Rome.
The imaging system has been utilised to create unique point cloud models of churches and frescoes in the Italian capital revolutionising restoration, CAN/EWTN News reports. The technology is not only saving teams of experts time in what is usually a painstaking task requiring a great deal of patience, but the data captured is better at mapping edifices and ornate decorations than traditional photographic methods.
Rome-based Architect Danilo Prosperi, a scientific researcher who wokrs extensively with new technologies, claims 3D scanning is a very useful tool in modern restoration.
"The technology of the laser scanner offers great advantages for the technician and the engineer that uses it, especially in terms of the time invested," he said. "The time it takes to create a model with the 3D laser scanner is drastically reduced in comparison to the technologies that are conventionally used.
"Photography is obviously a 2D image, therefore it does not provide information about the dimensionality of the photographed object. The laser scanner, instead can obtain, through its photography of reality, a faithful, three dimensional model on the computer."
Rome is becoming a forerunner in utilising 3D scanning in the restoration and recording of ecclesiastical decoration, with a Masters degree programme entitled Architecture, Sacred Art and Liturgy established by the European University of Rome specialising in using this technology in churches and for other ornate edifices.
"The [Masters degree] puts a specific emphasis on the field of ecclesiastical patrimony, through a new approach. It tries to look at the beauty of architecture through the eyes of the ancient architects,” Prosperi explained, the aim being that the students deepen their understanding of the architecture.
A number of projects have already been successfully completed using the systems championed in the programme, such as models of excavations of ancient towns and city squares, castles, ancient walls, churches and other decorative edifices. Among this growing collection is the Rococo church of Saint Maria Maddalena, which neighbours the Pantheon in the heart of Rome.
The 3D model of the church highlights cracks in the stonework that are invisible when utilising traditional techniques.
Prosperi said: "In this church of the Maddalena, we have worked in the main naves, as well as in the Rococo-style sacristy for restoration purposes in the past year. It was necessary to make a new set of 3D models in order to analyse the fracturing of a wall that was restored already a couple of years back.
"From the analysis of the deformation of the frescoed wall, it was possible to see that there was a 4 cm change and deformation. A new restoration was therefore initiated to fix the problem."
In the UK the Scottish Ten organisation has been using 3D scanning to record the exact physical dimensions of historic structures such as the St Kilda ruins, New Lanark's 18th century mills and the Heart of Neolithic Orkney in Scotland, as well as more modern and iconic structures including the Sydney Opera House.