CMU recreates the Chedi Luang pagoda top using light technology

25 August 2021

Corporate Communication and Alumni Relations Center (CCARC)

Lanna architecture is one of the enchanting features of Chiang Mai. From the architectural heritage, we can see traces of Buddhism’s prosperity in the Lanna region and Wat Chedi Luang (Chedi Luang temple) is the epitome of the wonder of both Lanna architecture and Buddhist traditions. However, as has been recorded in historical records, an earthquake caused the top of the pagoda to collapse and the pogada’s current state is unfortunately not the same as it once was. As such, Chiang Mai University attempted to recreate the pagoda as it would have appeared in its glory days using light technology.

This experiment is a collaboration between the Creative Lanna Innovation Centre (CLIC) of CMU’s Faculty of Architecture and the Commissioners of Lanna Architecture of The Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage. The primary goal was established during the 2021 Lanna Architecture Fair, at which participants discussed how spectacular the pagoda would look if it were in perfect condition. The question was how such a feat could be accomplished. The use of light technology was proposed to recreate the right shape and height. The idea was to use light projection to recreate the missing perimeter. It is a projection of a 2D image onto a 3D object. The projection process begins with the illusion of extrusion. A point in space is used to create a line and then a virtual light plane, which leads to the creation of a space that sits over the pagoda. The audience is able to fill in some of the details using their imagination. Although this was only a preliminary experiment, it allowed people to see what to the pagoda looked like back in the days.

Conservation of Lanna wisdom, art, and culture is a priority of CMU, as reflected in the University’s Creative Lanna strategy. With strength in architecture and creative innovation, CMU is ready to showcase archeological sites and objects to the world, allowing everyone to witness the past glory of Lanna architecture.

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