Restoring the Old with the New
Restoring the Old with the New
  • Reporter Kwon Woo-jung
  • 승인 2013.09.04 15:32
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On May 4, there was a grand ceremony for commemorating the restoration of Sungnyemun Gate, the top national treasure of Korea, which was mostly destroyed by a fire in 2008. In the ceremony, numerous celebrities were invited, and a myriad of citizens also came to Sungnyemun Gate in order to celebrate the return of a precious cultural asset. The newly restored Sungnyemun Gate is not only almost the same as the previous one in appearance, but also more complete because some parts, destroyed in the Japanese colonial era, were also restored with stronger materials.
How could it be possible? In order for us to restore destroyed cultural properties, both cutting edge modern technologies and traditional methods, which have been passed down for generations are indispensable. People have to find the best balance between them so that the restored product is stronger but, still, traditional.
Modern Technologies: 3D Scan, BIM
3D scan is one of the most advanced technologies that play an important role in restoration of cultural assets. This 3D scanning technology, so-called reverse engineering, obtains the shape of the material from an existing one and brings it into CAD or other computer software for redesigning. This measurement method calculates the distance by checking the time it takes for laser to return after being shot. With two reflectors inside, it is possible to calculate the accurate vector values of each part of a structure. With this technology, we can get the 3D blueprint of existing cultural properties so that, if destroyed, the complete original form of it can be restored. BIM (Building Information Modeling) is what helps us with putting this information from 3D scanning into 3D blueprints. Since these two methods do not require any direct contact with the properties, there is no damage caused by contact. Also, a disaster prevention system is added in recently repaired or restored cultural property. This system protects our precious assets from potential accidents.
Traditional methods:
Intangible Cultural Assets
While those technologies above surely help us, we cannot solely rely on those modern techniques when dealing with traditional structures. Trying to turn those back to its truly original shape, it is significant to find the experts with lots of knowledge on details, such as roof tile experts. For example, we can analyze the state of the existing roof tiles and find their materials, but there are extremely few people who know how our ancestors actually made traditional tiles with those materials.
Of course, the most important thing is to prevent cultural properties from potential damage. However, even if these assets are somehow damaged, they are now much easier to repair and restore.

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