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DCH Session 4 3D Modelling

valeriavitale edited this page Oct 29, 2019 · 18 revisions

Sunoikisis Digital Cultural Heritage, Fall 2019

Session 4. 3D Modelling for Cultural Heritage

Thursday Oct 24, 16:00 UK = 17:00 CET

Convenors: Chiara Piccoli (Amsterdam University and Leiden University), Martina Polig (Cyprus Institute and Ghent University), Valeria Vitale (ICS)

YouTube link:

Slides: tba

Session outline

This class will discuss the creation of architectural 3D models, and their role as research tools. We will start with a brief introduction, presenting key themes such as transparency of 3D data, the need for standards and best practices, and the issue of preservation. The first part of the class will explore the value of creating 3D models in CAD applications, and what such models enable us to learn and understand about the represented building or monument. The discussion of case studies from the Virtual Interiors project and the Amsterdam Time Machine will show applications of 3D technologies beyond the reconstruction process per se, looking at what further knowledge 3D models can generate. Through a discussion of another case study, the 3D model of St. John the Theologian cathedral in Nicosia, we will look at the re-use of existing 3D models in new contexts, and their value as "virtual laboratories" to test hypotheses.

Seminar readings

Further reading

  • Favro, Diane (2012), “Se non è vero, è ben trovato (If Not True, It Is Well Conceived): Digital Immersive Reconstructions of Historical Environments.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 71.3, pp. 273-77. Available:
  • Gabellone, Francesco (2015). "Digital Technologies and Communication: Prospects and Expectations." Open Archaeology 1.1. Available:
  • Opitz, R. S., & Johnson, T. D. (2016). Interpretation at the controller’s edge: Designing graphical user interfaces for the digital publication of the excavations at Gabii (Italy). Open Archaeology, 1(1). Available:
  • Piccoli, Chiara (2018). "Visualizing Cityscapes of Classical Antiquity: From Early Modern Reconstruction Drawings to Digital 3D Models". Oxford: Archaeopress. pp. 55-60; 67-87. Open Access at
  • Vitale, Valeria (2016). "Transparent, Multivocal, Cross-disciplinary: The Use of Linked Open Data and a Community-developed RDF Ontology to Document and Enrich 3D Visualisation for Cultural Heritage." In: Bodard/Romanello, Digital Classics Outside the Echo-Chamber: Teaching, Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement, Pp. 147–168. London: Ubiquity Press. Available:
  • Watterson, Alice (2015). "Beyond Digital Dwelling: Re-thinking Interpretive Visualisation in Archaeology." Open Archaeology 1.1. Available:

Essay title

  • tba


Build a model of the Ekklesiasterion of the Temple of Isis in Pompeii using Sketchup Make, following the details and dimensions given in the handout attached.


Download and install Sketchup Make 2017, it is the last (third) option at the bottom of the page. Please, do not install any later versions, and ignore any invitation to upgrade or evaluate. After launching the software, click on the "choose template" button, in the top right area, and select "simple, meters" from the list of options. Then click the "start using Sketchup" button.

Instructions and additional materials

Optional exercise

Download the material in this folder. You will find a sketchup file called "villa floor" containing the floor plan for the House of Orpheus in Pompeii, according to Vander Poel, and the layout of the walls, ready to be elevated. Rebuild walls and entrance ways in the house, and apply textures using the files provided in the other folders. Some of them are copies of the actual frescos in the House of Orpheus by Presuhn, others are copies of frescoes from other Pompeian houses, and others are a mix of historically accurate and inaccurate decorative textures. Choose the look of your Roman villa, and try furnish it with available objects from the Sketchup Warehouse. See some examples developed in the file called "villa floor sample". And don't forget to document your choices.

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