How 3D Printing Helps Indian Architects Restore Mughal Mosque

Tue 21 Nov 23


Timber construction is amongst the industries most impacted by the push towards AI and automation. In September, Wood Central revealed that US researchers were using 3D printing to produce “tree-free wood” in a project that could develop high-value furniture using “lab-grown” wood.

Now, 3D printing has been used in India to fully restore a Mughal-era timber mosque in the ancient Indian city of Gujarat near Ahmedabad, the world’s Indian city recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1983.

As reported in the Indian Times, the mosque follows a two-year project from the Centre for Heritage Conservation (CHC) and the Ahmedabad Sunni Muslim Waqf Committee.

The project saw the rare brick and timber mosque being recreated and converted into a conservation school for aspiring architects, with the Indian Timbes reporting that “the steps in the reconstruction documented for 3D scanning for future preservation.”

Initially constructed using a trabeated system, the restored mosque was designed to replicate the beams-and-columns system used by artisans at the time of the original construction.

According to a report published by the CERP University in Ahmedabad, experts highlighted the delicate process of dismantling and carefully restoring the entrance on the southwest side of the mosque. 

“This approach ensured the preservation of intricate stucco work on the door archway, with the dismantled materials serving as valuable specimens of ancient construction techniques,” the report said.

Wood Central understands that project collaborators, including various NGOs, have organised on-site events to raise awareness among children, locals, and experts about the mosque’s construction methods, the significance of 3D scanning data, and the application of minimally invasive or non-invasive conservation methods.

“With the support of the waqf committee, research and restoration at the site continue,” a representative from the university said. 

“Over the years, numerous students have contributed to different aspects of the site, placing it within the broader narrative of the World Heritage City. The site is a testament to the multiculturalism and confluence of different architectural techniques employed by artisans in the city.”


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