‘Re-printing architectural heritage’

Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) technology has become a worldwide phenomenon, also for the domain of ‘heritage’. In this respect, it is increasingly seen as a quick and cost-effective way to restore architectural structures. The technology can also be used to reproduce lost or destroyed cultural heritage, for example in the event of conflicts or damage caused by environmental disasters. The 4TU project ‘Re-printing architectural heritage’ took the Hippolytus church in the Dutch village of Middelstum as a case study to explore the limits of existing technology and to investigate the possibilities of 3D printing of cultural heritage. Architectural historians, model building experts and scientists from the universities of Delft and Eindhoven have been involved in various aspects of 3D printing in this context, with the aim of reproducing various parts of the 15th-century church. For example, the available techniques were tested to reproduce a mural in one of the vaults of the church, as faithful as possible to original material, the colors and the microstructure. The project presents a picture of the challenges and opportunities of today’s 3D printing technology for 3D printing of heritage.

An extensive article about this research in Innovative Materials number 6 2018.