It’s official! The Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) has officially announced that the replica of Palmyra’s Triumphal Arch – at 25 feet tall and 30,000 pounds of Italian marble – will be constructed in City Hall Park (the previously unannounced location) by Monday, September 19th. The original arch as destroyed by ISIS in 2015 but through painstaking digital work using numerous photographs, a 3D model was constructed for production.
The arch is built using Egyptian marble quarried from the same location in Carrara, Italy used by Michelangelo and Da Vinci in the Renaissance and its installation in New York City is made possible with the support of The Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management. There will be an official unveiling at 1pm on Monday, September 19th and there will be a mobile app-based augmented reality experience for the public available from the time the arch opens.
The arch had not been 3D modeled before its destruction but its destruction served as an impetus for IDA to arm volunteers with 5000 3D cameras to document the archeological treasures of the Middle East and North Africa, in an initiative know as the Million Image Database.
There is a clear tie between Palmyra and New York City in this instance: the motif of rebuilding, timely just after the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Under the initiative the Million Image Database, the Institute of Digital Archaeology is working with UNESCO to 3D model other monuments in Palmrya, in case of further destruction, and the founder and executive director Roger L. Michel Jr. told the New York Times in March:
“Every time we resurrect from the rubble one of these monuments, it undercuts the message of fear and ignorance that these people are trying to spread,” he said. “If they knock it down, we will rebuild it. If they knock it down again, we will rebuild it again.”
In the original press release, IDA announced that “the arch will stand in Manhattan, surrounded by buildings adorned with classical features suggesting the common cultural roots of East and West.” City Hall is certainly emblematic of that architecture.
Next, read about the Top 10 Secrets of City Hall.