Architectural Studies


With advances in geospatial rendering technology, it has become increasingly common in recent years to see computer-generated flybys and flythroughs of historic sites, often with extremely detailed textures and surfaces. Here, for instance, is one showing the Palais de la Cité, including Sainte-Chapelle and its surrounding environs, as it may have appeared in the late 14th century. This video was commissioned by the Centre des monuments nationaux (a government agency within the French Ministry of Culture) for display at an exhibition dedicated to King Louis IX that ran during 2014 and 2015.

Sainte-Chapelle (Dassault Systèmes, 2014, 3 mins.):


These types of videos are often quite popular given their arresting visual details and virtual camera movement, but what sort of information can best be presented in such reconstructions? From the standpoint of site interpretation, how could such computer animation be most edifying? When might it be most helpful? On the other side of the coin, when might it be distracting or even misleading? Do you have any reservations about deploying such technology this way, and what, if any, drawbacks might you see with this type of presentation?

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