St Trophime, Arles, France

St Trophime Cloister

The Church of St. Trophime is a former cathedral located in the city of Arles, in the Bouches-du-Rhône Department of southern France. It was built between the 12th century and the 15th century, and is in the Romanesque architectural tradition. The sculptures over the church's portal, particularly the Last Judgement, and the columns in the adjacent cloister, are considered some of the finest examples of Romanesque sculpture. The church was built upon the site of the 5th century basilica of Arles, named for St. Stephen. In the 15th century a Gothic choir was added to the Romanesque nave.


Arles, France

Architect & Date

12th - 14th century


World Monuments Fund

Services Provided

With the support of the World Monuments Fund, ICR was contracted by the World Monuments Fund (WMF) to coordinate the scientific committee chosen to assist the French design team and the City of Arles to preserve the cloister.

Documentation and testing for marble and limestone conservation:

  • Development of GIS-based survey software for conditions

  • Coordination of laser scanning and 3D modeling

  • Coordination of laser cleaning tests

  • Marble consolidation testing in laboratory

  • Quality control work over time

  • Assist with the development of cyclical maintenance program

ICR was contracted by the World Monuments Fund (WMF) to coordinate the scientific committee chosen to assist the French design team, in addition to providing many services including documentation and testing.

The user-friendly GIS-based software development being pursued provides a tool for surveying the current conditions of the Cloisters, with the capability of linking existing conditions, photographs, drawings, reports and historic documents to create a single repository of information about the past and present condition of the site. The software has many potential uses including assessment of conditions and priorities, assigning repair types to existing conditions and the development of cost estimates.

In an effort to document the Cloister of St. Trophime, a Digital Preservation Initiative was developed by WMF to create a detailed record of the Cloister and the sculptural stonework. The goal of the initiative, in addition to documenting the site, was to provide virtual access to the site for researchers, educators and the public. ICR worked with CyArk and French Authorities to create the 3D model and fly throughs through laser scanning and high-resolution photography.

A unique laser cleaning testing program was initiated to develop an appropriate method for addressing the complex soiling and gypsum buildup on the decorative stone elements. An advanced technique combining both infrared and ultraviolet light for cleaning of historic sites was tested in order to help develop an overall conservation cleaning program for the Cloister.

In house comparative testing of consolidation treatments for calcium carbonate based stone was focused on the development of potential chemical consolidation and repair options for the sculptural marble. The goal of chemical consolidation was to slow the weathering process and limit disaggregation, crumbling and loss of material that is common in such stonework exposed to the elements for long periods of time.

Learn more about World Monuments Fund work at St Trophime here