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Modeling historical structures in virtual space poses many challenges, especially when the original physical structure no longer exists. This chapter reconstructs the pavilion’s architectural history as an expression of its time and as part of a longer tradition of design experiments in which garden pavilions play an important role. The chapter then illustrates the research and digital processes used to reconstruct the building. The research team coupled historical documents—original sketches, engravings, color plates, and a lone black-and-white photo—with architectural modeling tools to achieve sufficiently accurate form, space, and material representations of the pavilion. Experienced through various forms of immersive and interactive media, the model becomes a critical element in portraying and understanding the pavilion’s historical narrative.
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The research team relied on several software packages to construct the model, produce illustrations, and to develop animations and virtual reality environments. The primary applications included Sketchup, Autodesk 3DS Max, Autodesk AutoCAD, Render [In], VRay, Adobe Creative Suite, Google Photosphere, and Unreal Engine.
“Mapping” is a process in digital modeling of applying photographic images to the surface of geometric forms in order to simulate textures, colors, and surface characteristics. For instance, a surface in a digital rendering may appear to have the graininess and color of wood because a photograph of wood has been applied to the model. Image maps eliminate the need to model fine details and material textures that would increase file sizes unnecessarily and would be tedious work for the modeler.
Compound curved surfaces curve in two directions and are typically more difficult to build and manipulate (than flat or single curved surfaces) in digital modeling. A cylinder is an example of a single curved surface, and a sphere is a compound curved surface. Animal and human forms—and some architecture and furniture—are composed of a series of compound-curved surfaces that pose significant challenges in digital modeling. Compound curved objects require a highly developed understanding of three-dimensional geometry by the modeler and an ability to see and manipulate three-dimensional geometry on a two-dimensional computer screen.
- Architectural Histories and Virtual Reconstructions: Queen Victoria’s Lost Pavilion in Digital Space
David B. Hill
- Palgrave Macmillan US