Before and After the Arch

I had never talked about who actually was commissioned to do the 3D startup for the Arch. Before you read that article though I want to mention the Institite for Digital Technology. Someone mentioned that the IDA wasn’t actually a non profit organization. That in fact it was registered by what is called the Classics Conclave LLC. He states that there is no charity or company listed in the UK under the name or moniker of IDA and the IDA’s postal address and phone number are nothing more than a house on a random street. He find out that the man who Classics Conclave LLC is under is one Mr. Austin D. Hart who is in fact a lawyer. Now we do know that the Dubai Government is who enlisted Roger Michel and the IDA to make a replica of this Arch and I can only assume is this is who bank rolled the entire project. I do also know that Dubai has spoken openly about using this 3D technology to build new nuildings and monuments in Dubai. So what does this all mean and why would the IDA lie and claim they are a non profit when at the time of the Arch being installed at Trafalgar Square, they actually weren’t?

I did happen to find this on LinkedIn. “The Classics Conclave was established in 2009 by Mr. Roger Michel for the purpose of promoting study, supporting research and recognizing excellence in all fields of Classical studies. Begun in Boston, the Classics Conclave now works in both the United States and the United Kingdom. In keeping with its mission statement, it has provided direct support to a number of individual scholars and organizations, awarded scholarships to promising students, hosted dinners and colloquia, republished out-of-print texts, created an online library of oral histories of scholars, collaborated in the creation of undergraduate teaching programs, and participated in the development and testing of digital imaging technologies (RTI).” ( Now the information that I did find on Classics Conclave LLC was started in 2012 and is located on Vermont. (

You can find Mr. Harp’s information here (

Here is the original video. 

So there seems to be a few discrepancies with the starting and foundation of this Arch being built. Or its just a misunderstanding or the officials at the IDA misspoke. Either way, why would anyone lie. Let’s take a look at an article of the process of how this Arch came about. 

Making of the Arch of Triumph for Trafalgar Square Installation – April 19, 2016 

Vertex Modelling, creators of the 3D model of London, was approached by Institute of Digital Archaeology with a commission to create 3D model of the destroyed Palmyra’s Triumphal Arch for planned installation in Trafalgar Square, London.

The brief of this commission was to capture all possible detail visible on historical photographs of this site, including signs of passing of time and weathering. This project was only possible thanks to Vertex Modelling having over 10 years of experience in photogrammetry and remote sensing with highly competent team of 3D Modellers and digital sculptors.

“Working with a variety of historical photographs taken by cameras of unknown lens distortion was certainly challenging”, says Michal Konicek form Vertex Modelling. “When working with terrestrial photogrammetry, the ideal is to have calibrated cameras and secondary measurements. As for various reasons this was not possible for this site, we had to revert to a fusion of technology and artistic skills of our employees to achieve the required level of accuracy and detail”

The first part of the process was to create the arch. Digital sculptor Eder de Souza began modelling a basic shape in Maya and then sent the model to ZBrush where he began sculpting in the decoration, damage and textured the model by digital painting. When this was finished, the original high poly model was decimated to low poly and then Eder created UVs, normal maps and texture and applied them back to this low poly mesh for visualisation in Sketchfab.

The model that will be displayed in Trafalgar Square is a direct derivative of the model captured by Vertex Modelling. In order for the model to be translated into stone, it needed to be converted into an engineering structure by number of post-processes to end with solid 3D Model. Finally the model needed to be tweaked in order to separate the model into blocks and a final check was done to verify that all of the surface texture was defined in such a way that it was compatible with the manufacturing technique.

“To work on the Palmyra Arche was truly rewarding and it represented welcome change from our day-to-day work of capturing 3D Models of cities”, says Eder De Souza, 3D Modeller at Vertex Modelling. “I had lots of experience but I still had to improve my skills in digital sculpting for this project. As the idea was to either 3D print or mill this monument in real 1:1 scale I had to really step up here. I am very pleased with the way this replica turned out.” ( &

So I thought it would fitting since I mentioned how this whole process came about with the Arch, that we should know the end game. Like I have said before, the Arch will go back to Syria sometime after mid-September. I have also mentioned that there is intentions from some who would like to see Palmyra actually rebuilt. I came across an article from Architectural Digesy that mentions the rebuilding of sites destroyed by terrorism. The World Monements Fund will deliberate in 2018 to see where and what should be on the next list. My guess would be a vote that Palmyra would be on the list.

“Every two years, the World Monuments Fund publishes a list of what the organization and an expert jury consider the most threatened buildings and heritage sites. Overdevelopment, coastal erosion, and the structure’s age all pose a threat, but terrorist activity has steadily risen as a cause of destruction. As the organization deliberates its 2018 list and conflict continues in the Middle East, AD spoke with WMF Executive Vice President Lisa Ackerman, who foreshadowed what to expect: “the conflict in the Middle East figures prominently in this discussion.” “Heritage sites, to a certain extent, can be repaired,” she explained, before adding, “what is harder to determine is what ‘fixing’ means.” 

When you get to buildings such as the Temple of Baal, in Palmyra, Syria,” Ackerman says, “there are equal numbers of people advocating for leaving it as a reminder of the destruction and those who wish to see it rebuilt.” Though those types of acute incidents of destruction continue (as it occurred with the Temple of Baal in August 2015), there is also the added challenge—less brazen, but no less threatening—of the administrative vacuum left by regime change.”

“The damage is more subtle than the obvious heritage sites,” she explained, pointing out the fact that WMF placed the entire country of Iraq on the Most Watched List in 2006. The threat, as she sees it, is the loss of “buildings and sites of daily life, in combination with the named historic sites.” (


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: