Sustainable Restoration of Cultural Heritage in the digital era




Historical Building Restoration, Sustainability, Historical Building Information Modelling (H-BIM), Digital Twin for Built Environment


The reprocessing, preservation, and maintenance of the wide historical architectural heritage in Italy represent one of the main challenges of digitalization; not only it is one of the oldest among in Europe, but it is also widespread across the country between cities and rural areas.  The care of such an aging built environment needs a carefully planned approach that can take advantage of new technologies such as Historical/Heritage Building Information Modelling (H-BIM) and Digital Twin (DT). The final goal is to promote a long-term sustainable restoration with high qualitative standards. Usually, the topic of sustainability is discussed for new constructions where it is of fundamental importance to save materials, energy, land use and to reduce the carbon footprint. However, being the number of historical buildings elevate in Italy, the concept shall be extended also to them, that are way more fragile if compared to the surrounding. Moreover, cultural heritage is connected to specific challenges that need to be addressed. What was happened in Aquila region after the earthquake of 2019 must not happen again. Digital technologies can be used to prevent such a catastrophic event, preventing and limiting damages, providing evaluable information, and realizing a tool that can be shared among the stakeholders to restore the physical and cultural value of an historical building also in case of extreme events.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Federico Cinquepalmi, Sapienza University of Rome

Department of Architecture and Design (DIAP), Faculty of Architecture

Virginia Adele Tiburcio, Sapienza University of Rome

Department of Civil, Constructional and Environmental Engineering (DICEA), Faculty of Civil and Industrial Engineering


Ai, D., Jiang, G., Lam, S. K., He, P., & Li, C. (2023). Computer vision framework for crack detection of civil infrastructure-A review. In Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence (Vol. 117).

Arosio, F M., & Federici, A. (2019, January 29). I Musei, Le Aree Archeologiche E I Monumenti In Italia. I Musei in Italia.

Bastem, S.S., & Cekmis, A. (2022). Development of historic building information modelling: a systematic literature review. Building Research and Information, 50(5).

Bosché, F., Ahmed, M., Turkan, Y., Haas, C.T., & Haas, R. (2015). The value of integrating Scan-to-BIM and Scan-vs-BIM techniques for construction monitoring using laser scanning and BIM: The case of cylindrical MEP components. Automation in Construction, 49.

Bruno, S., Musicco, A., Fatiguso, F., & Dell'Osso, G.R. (2021). The Role of 4D Historic Building Information Modelling and Management in the Analysis of Constructive Evolution and Decay Condition within the Refurbishment Process. International Journal of Architectural Heritage, 15(9).

Casiello, S. (2009). La cultura del restauro. Teorie e fondatori (Marsillo, Ed.; 9th ed.). saggi Marsillo.

Chen, L., Chen, X., & Lang, L. (2022). Building Information Protection Method of Urban Historical Features Based on BIM Technology. Advances in Multimedia, 2022.

Cinquepalmi, F., & Cumo, F. (2022). Using digital twin models (DTM) for managing, protecting and restoring historical buildings. Conservation Science in Cultural Heritage, 22.

Cinquepalmi, F., Paris, S., Pennacchia, E., & Tiburcio, V.A. (2023). Efficiency and Sustainability: The Role of Digitization in Re-Inhabiting the Existing Building Stock. Energies, 16(9).

Čustović, I., Soman, R.K., Pauwels, P., & Hall, D.M. (2023). Towards integrated digital twins for construction and manufacturing. Proceedings of the 2023 European Conference on Computing in Construction and the 40th International CIB W78 Conference, 4.

D'Angelo, A., Ricciardi, L., & Gugliermetti, L. (2018). Smart City and Cultural Heritage: Resilience Through Crowdsourcing Involvement. Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Environment and Electrical Engineering and 2018 IEEE Industrial and Commercial Power Systems Europe, EEEIC/I and CPS Europe 2018.

De Gregorio, S., De Vita, M., De Berardinis, P., Palmero, L., & Risdonne, A. (2020). Designing the sustainable adaptive reuse of industrial heritage to enhance the local context. Sustainability (Switzerland), 12(21).

European Parliament. (2018). Cultural heritage in EU policies. European Parliamentary Research Service, June.

Ewart, I.J., & Zuecco, V. (2019). Heritage Building Information Modelling (HBIM): A Review of Published Case Studies. In Advances in Informatics and Computing in Civil and Construction Engineering.

Fonseca Arenas, N., & Shafique, M. (2023). Recent progress on BIM-based sustainable buildings: State of the art review. Developments in the Built Environment, 15.

Grieves, M. (2016). Origins of the Digital Twin Concept. Revista de Obstetricia y Ginecolog??A de Venezuela, 23(August).

D.M. 2008 Service for the digitization of cultural heritage - Digital Library, Pub. L. No. 252, GU Serie Generale (2008).

Kühl, B.M. (2023). Theory of Restoration, by Cesare Brandi: six decades of its publication. Anais Do Museu Paulista, 31.

López, F. J., Lerones, P. M., Llamas, J., Gómez-García-Bermejo, J., & Zalama, E. (2018). A review of heritage building information modeling (H-BIM). In Multimodal Technologies and Interaction (Vol. 2, Issue 2).

Martinsson-Wallin, H. (2016). Samoan archaeology and cultural heritage: Monuments and people, memory and history. In Samoan Archaeology and Cultural Heritage: Monuments and People, Memory and History.

Moyano, J., Carreño, E., Nieto-Julián, J.E., Gil-Arizón, I., & Bruno, S. (2022). Systematic approach to generate Historical Building Information Modelling (HBIM) in architectural restoration project. Automation in Construction, 143.

Nugroho, A.C., & Hardilla, D. (2020). The Importance of Cultural Heritage Conservation in Society: A Review and Prospect for Future Cities, with Bandar Lampung as Cased Study. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 409(1).

Oostwegel, L.J.N., Jaud, Š., Muhič, S., & Malovrh Rebec, K. (2022). Digitalization of culturally significant buildings: ensuring high-quality data exchanges in the heritage domain using OpenBIM. Heritage Science, 10(1).

Papadonikolaki, E., Krystallis, I., & Morgan, B. (2022). Digital Technologies in Built Environment Projects: Review and Future Directions. Project Management Journal, 53(5).

Presidente della Repubblica. (2004). Decreto Legislativo 22 gennaio 2004, n. 42 "Codice dei beni culturali e del paesaggio." CWL Publishing Enterprises, Inc., Madison, 2004.

Rossitti, M., Oppio, A., & Torrieri, F. (2021). The financial sustainability of cultural heritage reuse projects: An integrated approach for the historical rural landscape. Sustainability (Switzerland), 13(23).

Salem, T., & Dragomir, M. (2022). Options for and Challenges of Employing Digital Twins in Construction Management. Applied Sciences (Switzerland), 12(6).

Tatangelo, M., Audisio, L., D'Amato, M., & Gigliotti, R. (2022). Seismic risk analysis on masonry buildings damaged by L'Aquila 2009 and Emilia 2012 earthquakes. Procedia Structural Integrity, 44.

Teng, S.Y., Touš, M., Leong, W.D., How, B.S., Lam, H.L., & Máša, V. (2021). Recent advances on industrial data-driven energy savings: Digital twins and infrastructures. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 135.

UNESCO. (2023, September 12). UNESCO World Heritage List. Https://Whc.Unesco.Org/En/List/&order=year.

Vestheim, G. (2019). UNESCO Cultural Policies 1966-1972 -the Founding Years of 'New Cultural Policy.' Nordisk Kulturpolitisk Tidsskrift, 22(1).

Wang, J. (2012). Problems and solutions in the protection of historical urban areas. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 1(1).

Wong, J., Wang, X., Li, H., Chan, G., & Li, H. (2014). A review of cloud-based bim technology in the construction sector. In Journal of Information Technology in Construction (Vol. 19).

Yang, B., Lv, Z., & Wang, F. (2022). Digital Twins for Intelligent Green Buildings. In Buildings (Vol. 12, Issue 6).




How to Cite

Cinquepalmi, F. and Tiburcio, V. A. (2023) “Sustainable Restoration of Cultural Heritage in the digital era”, VITRUVIO - International Journal of Architectural Technology and Sustainability, 8(2), pp. 76–87. doi: 10.4995/vitruvio-ijats.2023.20545.