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PHNOM BAKHENG TEMPLE RESTORATION
World Monument Fund utilizes Terex ® self-erecting tower crane to help restoration in Angkor Wat
Cambodia, June 2013, Phnom Bakheng is the oldest temple complex of Angkor, Cambodia. Dating back to the late ninth century the hill-top temple is known for its panoramic view of the much larger Angkor Wat temple situated about 1.5 km away. Over the centuries Phnom Bakheng has suffered the ravages of nature and time. In 2006, WMF and APSARA National Authority embarked on a campaign to document the site and develop a conservation program.
Phnom Bakheng – a stepped pyramid-like structure with 60 sandstone towers rising from the corners of its five terraces - was the first and principal mountain-style temple in the region representing Mount Meru, the home of the Hindu gods. It was built by King Yasovarman as the centrepiece of his new capital, Yasodharapura, which is now part of the Angkor Archaeological Park in north-western Cambodia and the home of other magnificent temples of the Khmer empire.
The temple has serious structural issues mainly visible at the terrace corners where walls and shrines have been severely damaged through the shifting of the stones allowing undergrowth and water ingress to erode the structure. Restoration work first started in 2004 when urgent stabilization work to the temple’s collapsed southwest corner was carried out. Awards to World Monuments Fund (WMF) by the US State Department in 2007 and 2011 through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation allowed long-term conservation work to be carried out including stabilization, repair, waterproofing and partial reconstruction. To help with the restoration, the WMF decided the best way forward was to use a compact and easily transportable self-erecting tower crane for lifting and placing materials.
“When the restoration work increased significantly at the beginning of 2008 we analysed the type of work that needed to be carried out,” said Ben Haley, WMF communications manager. “Taking into consideration the position of the temple, we decided that a self-erecting tower crane was the answer. After further research, the WMF opted to invest in a Terex CBR 24 Plus which can be erected quickly and easily and allows us to lift the stone blocks and other materials up to a maximum of two tonnes or up to its maximum radius of 24 metres. And because of the remote position of Phnom Bakheng and the hot, humid climate, having quality components and a fully galvanised structure was a big advantage. Since being installed, the crane has worked perfectly.”
Work was to start at the northeast corner of the temple, however, because of the uneven ground and the presence of a collapsed brick shrine, a substantial raised reinforced concrete platform was constructed to form a solid base for the crane and a bridge over the shrine. The platform is supported by sizeable steel beams sitting on concrete pads and had to be strong enough to carry the total 17.76-ton weight of the crane which included 8.46 tons (nine 940kg concrete ballast blocks) of counterweight.
Once the platform was completed, the Terex CBR 24 Plus was transported up the hill to the temple along a very small and steep pedestrian path that was widened by a locally rented dozer. The crane was then positioned on the platform by building a temporary ramp using sand bags and hauling it up the ramp and onto the platform using two winches mounted to the front of the steel support structure.
Once on the platform the crane was erected with the help of a Terex technician and then the ballast blocks were self-installed. Finally the site workers held a ceremony, blessing the crane and praying for the safe completion of the contract. A small workshop was set up nearby to house a generator and electrical cabling used to power the crane and some small tools.
Following a detailed site survey, the first phase of the work to be carried out using the crane was the restoration of the lower terrace on the northern half of the east elevation. Some emergency stabilization and protection of the surrounding brick shrine structures were also completed. A workshop housing a stone saw used to size and cut new sandstone blocks to replace broken or missing pavers or wall units was also set up.
Any stones that were dismantled had to be numbered before being moved to safe storage areas. All stone blocks in the northeast corner were removed and the exposed bedrock cleaned of soil, vegetation and remains of deteriorated laterite. Conservation of damaged stone blocks has begun. Original materials are cleaned, repaired as needed, and returned to their location. Replacement stone and laterite are utilized to improve stability where necessary.
Restoration work on Phnom Bakheng is just one of dozens of projects all over the world currently being undertaken by World Monuments Fund.
About The CBR 24 Plus
Renowned for reliability, quality and safety, Terex® CBR Self Erecting Tower Cranes are highly valued for fast, efficient lifting solutions all over the world. The Terex CBR 24 PLUS is one in a range of 11 self-erecting tower cranes. Designed with a compact base and simple fold-out jib sections, the CBR 24 PLUS is the ideal solution for jobs on residential construction sites. In addition to a standard 24-meter maximum jib length and 2-tonne maximum capacity, the compact dimensions of the CBR 24 PLUS enable transport on a single standard truck trailer to ensure fast access and on-site assembly without the need for special permits. The crane can work with luffed and folded jib. The simplicity and high quality of its components and mechanisms make this tower crane model both extremely reliable and easy to use. Designed for optimum productivity and long service life at reduced operating costs, the Terex CBR 24 PLUS is what can be described as the perfect workhorse, offering customers an excellent return on investment.
About World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund (WMF) is a private, international, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world through fieldwork, advocacy, grantmaking, education, and training. Founded in 1965, WMF is headquartered in New York, and has offices and affiliates around the world, including Cambodia, France, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In addition to hands-on management, the affiliates identify, develop, and manage projects, negotiate local partnerships, and attract local support to complement funds provided by donors.
Terex Corporation is a diversified global manufacturer of a broad range of equipment that is focused on delivering reliable, customer driven solutions for many applications, including the construction, infrastructure, quarrying, mining, shipping, transportation, refining, energy, utility and manufacturing industries. Terex reports in five business segments: Aerial Work Platforms; Construction; Cranes; Material Handling & Port Solutions; and Materials Processing. Terex offers financial products and services to assist in the acquisition of equipment through Terex Financial Services. More information can be found at www.terex.com
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