Digital Twin for Heritage Restoration

Project: Framework for Restoration of Heritage using Digital Twin (FRESH-DT)

Funding: Newton Fund Impact Scheme (delivery partner: British Council)

Duration: 2021-2023

Main partners: Middlesex University London and Cairo University Egypt

Associated partners: Historic Environment Scotland, BurroHappold and Ministry of Housing Egypt

PIs: Dr. Noha Saleeb, Middlesex University and Prof. Mohamed Marzouk, Cairo University Egypt


Egypt holds a huge percentage of global heritage assets, which tourism is built around, contributing >12% to total economy and national GDP (>500 billion EGP), employing >3 million jobs. Also, thousands of heritage assets are in residential, commercial & office use, not just tourism, rendering heritage vital to Egypt’s economy. However, these assets suffer from heavy deterioration, maintenance & operations issues, which are cost & time extensive, unsustainable in energy usage & wasteful in materials & usability. Moreover, with emergence of global adversities e.g COVID19, physical decision-making & actions on crucial building aspects can be difficult. Thus, a need emerges to automate these decisions remotely & continuously allowing processes like facilities/operations management, restoration/conservation of heritage assets, to be predicted and decisions conducted more efficiently. Hence, this project aims to create a digital replica “twin” of heritage assets, embedding classification & expert systems created in a previous Institutional Links grant by the same investigators, & building on that by implementing a scheme to receive continuous stream-feed of data/information through sensors, upon which patterns could be anticipated, predicted and decisions/actions would be performed back in the asset using actuators, for its enhancement in multiple ways. The project will also develop a visual analytics framework from the information that can help manage heritage assets in active use allowing monitoring & control over vital aspects e.g energy, light & sound efficiency, CO2 reduction, moisture levels & material deterioration, ability to lodge artefacts, ventilation, optimal human occupancy, allowable structural & seismic forces, & optimal space-usage based on condition. These optimisations will allow impact within 10 years to increase new genres of jobs in heritage & tourism for individuals, reduce unemployment/poverty in society, generate more tourism revenues, increase national GDP, help achieve national sustainability policies/agenda & preserve global heritage sites.┬áThe project will be conducted simultaneously on case study Heritage assets in UK and Egypt for mutual national benefit with the collaboration of industry and government parties namely Historic Environment Scotland, BurroHappold and Ministry of Housing Egypt.

Aim / Objectives:

The research main aim is creating a Framework for Restoration of Heritage using DIGITAL TWINS, to enhance/control assets with higher quality, less time/budget, in an automated/remote method, especially during disasters. This increases sustainability, usability, tourism attraction, income & jobs to develop the Egyptian National Economy.

The specific objectives are

    • Optimisation: Heritage performance management methods e.g. energy efficiency, operations costs, ventilation, moisture & carbon footprint
    • Simulation: Workflow augmentation to monitor forces in heritage structures, implement seismic actions & track energy consumption
    • Controlling social data: Monitoring/regulating human activities, events, live traffic & usage in heritage spaces
    • Lifecycle management: Heritage space condition, fabric deterioration, supply chain operations & maintenance logistics
    • Health & Safety: Automated realtime risk detection, mitigation actions, rules compliance, space & information security