The University of Notre Dame School of Architecture has signed a four-year agreement with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The memorandum of understanding will allow Notre Dame faculty and students access to conduct research at World Heritage Sites without going through the rigorous application process. “The institutional affiliation allows the UNESCO and Notre Dame to work together in a spirit of cooperation to contribute to World Heritage research and knowledge,” Prof. Krupali Krusche says.
The School of Architecture's Digital Historic Architectural Research and Material Analysis (DHARMA) program, under the direction of Prof. Krusche, uses cutting-edge technology to promote the conservation of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Taj Mahal and the Roman Forum. Using 3-D documentation and meticulous hand measuring, Notre Dame Architecture students produce detailed models and blueprints, which do not exist for these structures. The purpose is twofold: to provide technical drawings to facilitate reconstruction in the event the structures were ever destroyed, and to help prevent further deterioration of these World Heritage sites by identifying otherwise invisible damage that threatens their viability. “This documentation work will be critical for understanding these sites’ pasts as well as educating future generations on their cultural importance,” Prof. Krusche says.
One of only 12 such agreements between UNESCO and universities around the world, the memorandum of understanding offers all Notre Dame faculty and students, not only those in architecture, access to World Heritage Sites to conduct research.