Palladio Digitale

Posted on 15 May 2014

Computation Design Lab: Palladio Digitale 2014

Architecture representation has always sought to break the boundaries of “realism” in producing imagery that mimics physical artifacts. While each drawing has its own role in presenting architectural ideas, the perspective drawing has historically been the primary product to give the viewer the experience of seeing the subject true to life. New technologies in computer modeling, gaming hardware, and virtual reality now allows us to continue pushing the limits of representation by placing the viewer “beyond the picture plane.” Now we know longer just see the subject matter, but experience it spatially . 

Using new technologies this project is seeking to produce a series of virtual exhibits on the work of Palladio. In this study I was able to bring 3D scanned artifacts into Unity 3D (gaming software) to be experienced by the user. The viewer will then be able to navigate the space as they would in any FPS video game. I also was able to program text (audio and video content coming soon) in the game engine augmented on top of key objects or spaces. In this way the viewer will experience the space as well as receive info (on demand) for specific objects or spaces they click on.

While nothing can compare with actually physically visiting Vicenza, Italy, this project does present a viable solution to experience historical artifacts virtually.  The viewer can experience and learn about the work of Palladio in a rich immersive way. Furthermore little research exists on the interior furnishings of Palladian villas.

Gaming software coupled with the new virtual reality hardware of the Oculus Rift offers great affordances for experiencing the space like never before. The experience for the viewer is completely immersive.  Using 3d scanning techniques or geometry formed from 3D photo stitching, I was able to populate the game scene with actual artifacts from the site. The viewer is able to highlight these objects and pull up information to learn more about their origins.

This workshop was a semester long course run by professors Howard Burns, Takehiko Nagakura, Terry Knight, and Daniel Tsai.

A web version of the final project can be seen here. Oculus Rift plugin components have been disabled. (Must have Unity 3D web player to view project).


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