Architecture can be used to express a variety of messages, but symbolic gestures of solidarity are rare. This week in London, construction was completed on a replica of the Arch of Triumph, a 2,000-year-old monument in Palmyra, Syria which was damaged last summer by ISIL militants. The arch, months in the making, was produced by the world’s largest 3D printer and will be on display for just three days before going on tour around the world.
The Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA) created the design to honor the devastating losses the people of Syria have suffered. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or IS) group damaged the Arch of Triumph last year, as part of a calculated effort to destroy a number of important cultural landmarks. The group captured the Temple of Bel in Palmyra last May and later planted explosives throughout the structure to turn it into rubble.
IDA—a joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford (UK), and Dubai’s Museum of the Future—planned for the 3D-printed arch to be on display in London during World Heritage Week. The replica arch was constructed from marble pieces in just a few hours in Trafalgar Square, and will be taken down around 4PM local time on April 21. After that, the arch will eventually travel to Dubai and will be put on display in New York City in September. Once its tour is complete, the 3D-printed replica Arch of Triumph will be shipped to Syria and erected near the site of the original monument.
Lead image via IDA