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McMansion Hell: revenge of cook county

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/04/2022 - 3:37am in

Fans of this website will perhaps remember a certain house from the “worst of suburban Illinois” post. I’m here to alert you to the fact that the interior of said house may in fact be the pinnacle of what has been dubbed by my colleague Cocaine Decor as “Cocaine Decor.” This 1990 house has lived rent free in my brain for a while, and now it will live rent free in all of yours. It sits at $1.1 million USD and precisely 10,000 square feet, each of which exists in ignorance of the Light of God.

Remember her? I wish I didn’t. Anyway.

The Lawyer Foyer

I would actually venture that this is the most reasonable and bland room in this house, but it sets the tone for what is to come: baffling art, even more baffling curtains, and the most baffling carpet choices to ever be offered in a catalog. Also from this angle it’s really funny.

The Sitting Room

Ok does anyone else here from the aught’s internet remember vintage Art.com and its kind of weird kitschy art prints? I used to spend hours on that website amassing pictures of lemons and limes because children are weird.

Living Room

I quilt and I KNOW how much fabric costs. Also I really want to do some kind of research project on late 90s-early 2000s “modernism” which is basically like “what if we took modernism and made it really chunky.” If you were working as an industrial designer during that time and can help me figure out what in the world was happening, please hit me up in the Twitter DMs @mcmansionhell.

Kitchen

hmm getting some Eyes Wide Shut vibes from all this… kinda sus…

Main Bedroom

Viral Tweet Voice: Tiger King was 10,000 years ago. Remember sourdough starters??? Hobbies taken up with manic urgency??? Washing groceries??? How young we were. How foolish.

????

Give me some powder and 15 minutes in here and I’ll come up with McMansion Hell 2 (or lose thousands of dollars on NFTs - it’s a toss up.)

bedroom

You know those metallic sharpies they sell two-packs of at Target? They took those to a fabric shop and said: here’s our palette, go nuts.

pool

shout out to my mom, I love her.

Okay, that’s about enough of that. Here’s the back of the house complete with a tripartite architectural analysis (it’s very complicated):

I hope you enjoyed this installment of McMansion Hell, stay tuned for more cursed houses from the Mecca of cursed houses, because I, uh, found a lot of them yesterday.

If you liked this post, consider signing up for my Patreon where you can get merch, livestreams, bonus houses, discord server access and more.Not into subscriptions? Tip me a cup of coffee for my trouble at Ko-Fi.

P.S. go bulls

daydream houses of oman

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/02/2022 - 6:56am in

Howdy, folks! With all the terrible events unfolding in Ukraine right now, I figured everyone would like a little bit of a break from doomscrolling. Not wanting to add anymore negativity to the timelines, I’m going to share something on-topic but decidedly more cheery than the McMansions of rich people who suck.

As some of you may know, I recently visited Oman as a cycling journalist covering the eponymous Tour of Oman. (You can follow all seven days of my travels via my cycling newsletter derailleur beginning here.) While I was there, I came across some of the most fantastic houses I’ve ever seen and had to take photos. Admittedly, I’m not a great photographer. I just bought a camera (a Panasonic Lumix) last year. Still, I tried to do these houses justice with my limited talent, a difficult task considering I was photographing from a moving car chasing bike racers around. These photos were taken during the Tour of Oman stages one and two, which traveled along routes from Al Rastaq to Muscat and from Barka to Suhar, respectively.

Each of these examples mixes Western luxury with Islamic architectural motifs, and they make use of elements like reflective glass and condensation capture tanks in order to mitigate some of the challenges of the desert climate. All are made from painted concrete, as there is little wood to be found in such an arid ecosystem and an abundance of rock and energy to beat it into submission.

These homes are decidedly an Omani phenomenon, their size and ostentatiousness perhaps owing to the country’s newfound wealth via oil exploration. However, while many would be keen to point the finger and shout “McMansion!”, as a good ex-graduate student, I’m wary of applying Western aesthetic standards to Eastern architectural examples. Besides, I have to say, these houses are way more fun than literally anything I’ve ever seen stateside. They’re playful and colorful, openly celebratory and, to be honest, kind of wild. I hope you enjoy them.

pink step-like house with central corridor

Note the explicit symmetry and two-toned reflective glass.

pastel foyer house

I found many examples of a stained glass technique wherein scenes or photographs are silkscreened onto glass and mounted as the most central window on the home. Note also the house’s classical composition as well as the obscured crenelated water collection tank on the roof, another common feature.

green house with arched door

Tripartite entryway consisting of a pediment, an oriel, and an ornate arched door surrounded by decorative script. Kermit the frog green.

house of the nine hoods

Note the Mario Botta-esque striped wall, the fort-like composition, the many cornices, and the fact that each window is screen-printed with a different pattern.

mullion house

Glass need not be a boring feature of the common home! Extremely ornate mullion patterns and fun purple columns.

little sunshine house

Note the subtle three-part mutifoil arch and the use of interior tile as exterior decoration to augment the entryway, something that’s common in these houses, perhaps because there is less worry of wear and tear by water. Another common element to one-story houses is a central roof-access tower for accessing the water tower and HVAC units.

imprint house

If foam is the material language of the Western McMansion, the Omani show-house speaks in concrete. Note the embossing of the cornices, windows, and wall panels to resemble zellij-pattern tilework. The exaggerated cornices are a nice touch of absurdity.

triple dome house

An absolutely chaotic house featuring extensive use of decorative tile, colonnaded windows, and subtle asymmetry. Love whatever’s going on with the garage doors.

oblique house

A house organized at an oblique angle, with complex wings and a heavily obscured front door. Pistachio green with mixed architectural elements.

gold window house

What happens if a house was made entirely of turrets? The answer is, it’s pretty glorious.

Anyway, I hope these houses brightened at least one person’s day and that everyone enjoyed this little reprieve from all that’s terrible.

Stay safe friends.

Even Walmart Is

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/01/2022 - 6:47am in

hello i have written about the metaverse and that cursed walmart video that’s been going around

Suburban Chicago McMansions Follow a Dark Logic Even I Do Not Understand

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/01/2022 - 1:39pm in

For reasons architecturally unbeknownst to me, the McMansions of Chicago’s suburbs are actually insane. Perhaps it makes sense that Chicago, America’s mecca of great and distinguished architecture would also give birth to what can be appropriately called the netherworld version of that.

For six years, I have run this blog, and for six years I have been absolutely amazed by the formal leaps and bounds exhibited by the McMansions of Chicago’s suburbs. This area is undisputedly the fertile crescent of unhinged custom homebuilding and while I’ve heard other claims made for the gaudy, compact McMansions of Long Island, the paunchy shingled stylings of Greenwich, Connecticut, the Disney-Mediterranean hodgepodges of Florida, the oil-drenched nub mountains of North Texas, you name it – nothing comes remotely close to that which has been built in the suburbs of Cook, Lake, and DuPage Counties. (In the case of the houses featured in this post, nine of ten are located in Barrington, IL, which just might be the census designated place known as McMansion Hell.)

Usually vernacular architecture has some kind of origin point, a builder or a style or a developer one can point to and say, aha, that’s where that comes from. One could argue that the postmodern classicism of a Robert AM Stern or the tory Colonial Revival selections found in the Toll Brothers catalog provided this service for much of the McMansion canon.

However, the McMansions in the Chicago Suburbs are so wildly customized and unique, it is as though each of the ten listed here were in competition with one another to build the most outrageous collage of wealth signifiers imaginable, to the point where their architecture becomes almost un-house-like. The responsibility for their form, owing to the absence of architects, lies solely with the owners and the custom builders who did their unquestioned bidding, who plucked each turret and mismatched window from the catalog after being told, give me that. These homes are the end logic of the “custom home” of the pre-2008 era where nouveau riche (and sometimes old money) fantasies were dropped on whatever massive virgin lot one could afford to hook up plumbing to.

There are two Barrington subtypes I’ve been able to identify that, while not unique to the area, seem to be the only kinds of formal logic uniting many examples. The first I’ll call the Long House, which is just what it sounds like: a once rational house that’s been stretched to comical length-wise proportions:

Theoretically the above house makes sense to the eye. The turrets divide it into a kind of five part vertical rhythm. But the more you stare, the less sense it makes. Why is there a window between the third and fourth turret but no other? Why are there two whole other wings jutting out from the house in two other directions? Were the house not one color, the eye would get lost immediately, and the scale is such that the realtor had to zoom all the way out with a drone just to capture the whole thing in one frame. Besides, what style even is this imitating? French Country? Great Recession-core? (The same could be asked of all of these houses which, owing to their bloated-ness defy and elude even the most half-assed stylistic or historical cosplay.)

In case you were wondering, the turret exists so as to roof a curved secondary mass. A horrible question to ask ourselves is: when a turret is not used, how does one attach the curved mass to the roof? The answer is whatever is going on in the above example. I’m sorry you all have to see this.

The Long House is perhaps best demonstrated in the above particular model, which appears as though it’s not actually real but rather a mid-range SketchUp render. This house actually reminds me of many examples I’ve seen in Bergen County, New Jersey. The first three masses form a logical tripartite facade. The two that are tacked on after that undermine the rest and render it almost comical. Also they’re slightly different from one another. Of course.

The other of the two subtypes is what I call the Tank House. (One also finds turrets on a tank.) The Tank House is, well, shaped kind of like a tank: hulking, with a central protruding mass around which everything else is oriented, often at a strange oblique angle:

Building a house at an oblique angle is kind of an interesting architectural decision especially on a corner lot, but none of these are corner lots - they are large swaths of what was probably farmland unhindered by size constraints. A carport is rather like the firing arm of our tank house, protruding outward and demonstrating a kind of military might:

Often in the Tank House, additional masses are just kind of piled on to the sides because it’s actually kind of inconvenient to design a really big house on a 45 degree angle:

This results in these houses taking on a kind of kaleidoscope effect where they tesselate, spread and converge as the eye tries to assimilate them into something with symmetry, even though the design consistency falls apart at the edges.

And then there’s whatever this is:

Yeah. Sometimes postmodernism wasn’t all fun colors and ironic greek order references. Unfortunately.

However, the Tank House doesn’t always have to involve an oblique angle. What’s unique - other than the oversized central portico - is actually the piling on of the massing into mismatched wings:

Like I said above, architecture, especially “traditional” architecture longs for symmetry, and these houses simply do not have it. They always manage to screw up, shoving some house over there, some roof to that side, as though they’ve started with a central idea and were unable to commit, rather like this post in which I’m wandering around really, really trying to understand why these houses are so damn bizarre.

In the last two examples, you’ll see a central hall punctuated by grand entrance of some kind. But in both cases the symmetry is broken by adding another mass to the right simply because the garage calls for it. It shows a remarkable lack of architectural faculty and imagination to let a garage derail the entire formal logic of the house. It’s lazy. However, the garage is a status symbol in and of itself – perhaps the disruption, the madness, is the point. (In architecture, as in all things, one must remember not to ascribe to malice that which can be easily explained by incompetence.)

This brings us to the last of our examples, which I consider to be among the greatest McMansions to ever exist:

This house took sprawl as its very inspiration, its DNA, its parti. It exists simply to say how much of it there is. It lays on a barren sea of turf grass, is constructed entirely from fossil-fuel based materials, is illuminated by a spurious sky added in post. Everything about it is the pinnacle of artifice, the absence of substance. Even color eludes it - it has traded color for “tone,” for a monochromatic neutrality that even better conveys just how huge and stupid it is. I hate this house, but I also love it, because it pushes the boundary of the medium like all memorable works of architecture do. That’s the thing – despite six years of running this website, every time I think I’ve seen it all, I come back to Barrington, Illinois and find something even my headiest subprime fever dreams couldn’t possibly cook up.

If you liked this post, consider signing up for my Patreon where you can get merch, livestreams, bonus houses, discord server access and more.
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Idaho’s Historical Markers Are Getting a Makeover

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/12/2021 - 2:26am in

Revising the revisionists

Many of Idaho’s 290 historical markers resemble the one near the Salmon River, which until recently declared that explorers Lewis and Clark had “discovered” the waterway in 1805. Of course, that’s not true: Indigenous Peoples had lived there for thousands of years before that, nourishing their communities with the river’s abundance of fish. 

Now, these inaccuracies are finally being acknowledged. The state’s Historic Preservation Office is working with Idaho’s five tribes to revise or replace many of the state’s historical markers. The new signs will use original tribal language for place names when possible, and be rewritten in consultation with cultural historians from the tribes. The corrections could be tricky — each sign has room for only a limited number of words, a reflection of how flagrantly they have simplified history. “We are trying to look critically at the stories we are putting out there,” said one Preservation Office official.

Read more at High Country News

Crafty solution

Unlike many U.S. states, which have strict laws about selling homemade goods to the public, the Appalachian region cultivates a strong “cottage industry” culture. West Virginia, in particular, has remarkably progressive laws allowing residents to sell things they’ve made at home — something that helped give the state’s economy a lift when the pandemic hit.

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Some residents who had long made extra cash on the side selling goods made at home found themselves doing it full time when Covid put their day jobs on hold. For many, these side hustles were a financial lifeline during lockdowns and remote learning. Some have kept at it, and have seen their home businesses thrive. “We have seen incredible growth this last year,” said one home baker who sells moonshine ganache out of his home kitchen. “I mean, it’s just been amazing.” 

Read more at 100 Days in Appalachia

Root cause

The living root bridges of northeastern India, made up of the living root systems of fig trees, have been used by people for centuries to cross swollen rivers during monsoon season. Now, wider awareness of the bridges is spurring an interest in “living architecture” in Western countries, where cities are learning to develop more sustainably.

indiaCredit: Sandro Lacarbona / Flickr

The bridges are a marvel. Often cultivated over years, they utilize the aerial roots of giant fig trees, which — with the help of locals — naturally twist and knot together, eventually forming a span that several people can safely walk across. Researchers consider them a prime example of “Indigenous resilience.” 

One professor of architecture at Columbia University in New York says that studying the root bridge methods can emphasize how urban nature and infrastructure are closely linked. “Instead of viewing trees in cities as passive elements, we can view them as active infrastructures, to expand the ecosystem services trees provide in the urban context,” she said.

Read more at BBC

The post Idaho’s Historical Markers Are Getting a Makeover appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Book Review: Icebergs, Zombies, and the Ultra Thin: Architecture and Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century by Matthew Soules

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/12/2021 - 10:10pm in

In Icebergs, Zombies, and the Ultra ThinMatthew Soules offers a new account of architecture under 21st-century capitalism, showing how buildings are bound up in the rise of financialisation. This compelling, chilling book offer valuable insights into both political and architectural theory, finds Monika Dybalska.

Icebergs, Zombies, and the Ultra Thin: Architecture and Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century. Matthew Soules. Princeton Architectural Press. 2021.

Find this book (affiliate link): amazon-logo

Matthew Soules’s Icebergs, Zombies, and the Ultra Thin: Architecture and Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century aims to provide a comprehensive account of the architectural order of 21st-century capitalism. The author’s declared inspiration behind the book is the 2007-2008 financial crisis, which not only exacerbated economic inequalities but also underscored the rise of ‘financialisation’ — a process in which financial markets, assets and instruments gain increasingly more influence over society. While financialisation, and its milieu, finance capitalism, have largely determined both the lived experience of the general population and the theoretical landscape of today, its links to architecture remain unexplored.

Soules’s work introduces the unique concept of ‘finance capitalist architecture’ and conducts an in-depth analysis of its possible implications. By characterising contemporary architecture and urbanism as specifically financialised phenomena, the author explores the interplay between buildings and finance capitalism, examining both the architectural and socio-economic aspects of the contemporary.

According to Soules, finance capitalism constitutes a state of affairs in which speculation replaces production, thus placing profitable financial instruments on a pedestal and casting aside the material realm of commodities. The pursuit of intangible, referenceless profit gives primacy to immateriality and fluidity.

Fluidity itself is a key characteristic of the ever-shifting nature of capitalism, and the speculative core of finance capitalism brings it to full fruition. Bearing this in mind, one might find it challenging to incorporate architecture, in its wholly solid, stationary state, into the liquidity of financial instruments. In Soules’s view, however, architecture is precisely what plays a crucial role in the reproduction of financial fluidity, thus transforming both itself and finance capitalism as a whole.

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

In his project to thoroughly characterise finance capitalist architecture, Soules positions himself within Marxist thought, both in its classical and more contemporary varieties, while framing it in the 21st-century context. The most pronounced interpretative framework from which Soules draws is that of Frederic Jameson, whose writings on capitalism and architecture were highly influential in the second half of the twentieth century.

While Soules agrees with Jameson’s assessment of architecture as a powerful actor in late capitalism, he diverges from Jameson’s conceptual separation of capitalism and architecture. In Jameson’s view, architecture is naturally informed by capitalism but remains a primarily aesthetic phenomenon, thus retaining significant autonomy from the workings of the economic order. Soules’s assessment of finance capitalist architecture, however, posits that architecture cannot claim meaningful autonomy from capitalism and that the two phenomena need to be jointly regarded for an accurate, in-depth analysis to emerge.

Soules’s book is an original work whose far-reaching scope and bold points make it a valuable contribution to the fields of architectural theory and political critique. Its strengths are its methodological approach and critical adaptation of the work of Jameson that are conveyed by the eponymous (and fittingly dramatic) concepts. By introducing the term ‘zombie urbanism’ — the rise of underoccupied secondary homes acting as investment properties — and its even more overt form, ‘ghost urbanism’, Soules delivers a trenchant characterisation of finance capitalist architecture as the space of crisis. In contrast to Jameson’s approach, Soules regards these crisis spaces as a necessary outcome of the capitalist mindset and links them to the primacy of speculative investments that impair the solidity and materiality of housing.

Furthermore, Soules succeeds in showing that architecture acts not only as a result of finance capitalist principles, but also as their enabler, thus cementing the conceptual bond between capitalism and architecture. In his account of the forms of financialised architecture, Soules solidifies finance capitalist housing’s status as a mass stock offering. One example is the case of ‘iceberg homes’, where the ultra-rich use extravagant basement extensions to store even more wealth while adhering to the zoning regulations that prevent the excessive expansion of houses. By conducting case studies of spatial profit optimisation and analysing the trends in property investment, Soules convincingly argues that architecture’s role in weaving the fabric of capitalism is not incidental.

Another strong point of the book is its skilful reconciliation of lived experience and more abstract universalism. While Soules explicitly states that he draws from traditionally universalist Marxist thought, his commitment to emphasising the plurality of today’s world allows for a non-totalising, more inclusive approach to architectural and political theory. His work permits a conceptual common ground by putting forth abstract ideas such as ghost urbanism and liquidity, but also stressing the importance of locality and the differences between cases. As a result, the book arrives at a comprehensive theory of finance capitalist architecture but does not assume completeness, settling instead on further exploration of the ever-changing capitalist reality.

Despite the significant value of the case study approach, the book’s structure impairs its conceptual organicism, often concealing the main argument and making the conclusions appear less pronounced than might be desired. Chapter Eight, dedicated to the trend of philanthropic urbanism, uses the example of Vancouver House’s ‘one for one’ initiative to explain the allure charity holds for property investors. The initiative, whereby every purchase of a housing unit results in the building owner gifting another unit to a person in need, is illustrative of the sinister aspect of philanthropy and acts as an insignificant, temporary solution designed to improve the developer’s image, lure investors and bring more clients.

While this chapter provides a sound critique of capitalist charity and introduces the phenomenon of ‘spatial philanthropy’, it does not fully explore the spatial and architectural upshots of ‘giving back’ under late capitalism. The concept of ‘spatial philanthropy’ is not afforded any unique characteristics, which may limit its viability and explanatory power. The seemingly accidental position architecture takes in ‘spatial philanthropy’ obscures the previously established role architecture plays in finance capitalism, appearing to reduce it once again to a symbol of capitalism rather than its active agent.

This relates to a lack of clarity regarding the key argument; while the book’s scope, structure and methodology suggest that it aims to provide a comprehensive, in-depth analysis of finance capitalist architecture, the occasional lack of organisational consistency makes it more akin to a loosely connected series of several different analyses. A clear, unifying conclusion would help finance capitalist architecture to take a marked shape.

Overall, however, the book succeeds in characterising contemporary architecture as a finance capitalist phenomenon and provides valuable insights into both political and architectural theory. This success is exemplified in the final chapter, where the interplay between architecture and capitalism fully comes into the light, blurring any remaining distinctions between them. Soules’s assertion that ‘the architecture of finance capitalism is a real abstraction [functioning] as a device at the liminal space between material, concrete existence and the seemingly mystical, abstract, complex, and immaterial realm of finance’ brings to the fore the true nature of finance capitalist architecture — one of an abstract financial functionality, immaterial and incapable of providing human shelter. Despite some organisational flaws, Soules’s book remains a compelling, chilling read which attacks the comforting notion of home, forcing the reader to find their bearings and prepare the ground for a different, concrete future.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science. The LSE RB blog may receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through the above Amazon affiliate link. This is entirely independent of the coverage of the book on LSE Review of Books.

 

Book at Lunchtime: Charles Dickens and the Properties of Fiction - The Lodger World

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/03/2021 - 6:16pm in

TORCH Book at Lunchtime webinar on Charles Dickens and the Properties of Fiction: The Lodger World by Dr Ushashi Dasgupta. Book at Lunchtime is a series of bite-sized book discussions held weekly during term-time, with commentators from a range of disciplines. The events are free to attend and open to all.
When Dickens was nineteen years old, he wrote a poem for Maria Beadnell, the young woman he wished to marry. The poem imagined Maria as a welcoming landlady offering lodgings to let. Almost forty years later, Dickens died, leaving his final novel unfinished - in its last scene, another landlady sets breakfast down for her enigmatic lodger. These kinds of characters are everywhere in Dickens's writing. Charles Dickens and the Properties of Fiction: The Lodger World explores the significance of tenancy in his fiction.
In nineteenth century Britain the vast majority of people rented, rather than owned, their homes. Instead of keeping to themselves, they shared space - renting, lodging, taking lodgers in, or simply living side-by-side in a crowded modern city. Charles Dickens explored both the chaos and the unexpected harmony to be found in rented spaces, the loneliness and sociability, the interactions between cohabitants, the complex gender dynamics at play, and the relationship between space and money. In Charles Dickens and the Properties of Fiction, Dr Ushashi Dasgupta demonstrates that a cosy, secluded home life was beyond the reach of most Victorian Londoners, and considers Dickens's nuanced conception of domesticity.
Panel includes:
Dr Ushashi Dasgupta is the The Jonathan and Julia Aisbitt Fellow and Tutor in English at Pembroke College, Oxford. Her research centres around nineteenth-century fiction, specialising in the relationship between literature, space and architecture, in particular, the ways in which fiction articulates urban and domestic experience. Charles Dickens and the Properties of Fiction is her first book, and her next project asks what it means to feel at home in a book, exploring the practice of re-reading, from the nineteenth century to the present.
Professor Sophia Psarra is Professor of Architecture and Spatial Design at University College London. Her research is transdisciplinary, spanning architecture and urbanism, spatial morphology, history, and cultural studies, and has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust, NSF-USA and the Onassis Foundation. Professor Psarra is also a prize-winning practicing architect, and her work has resulted in creative installations and design projects as well as a number of publications, which include The Venice Variations and Architecture and Narrative.
Professor Jeremy Tambling is a writer and critic who has been engaged with education and teaching at all levels and across the range, including holding the Chair of Comparative Literature in Hong Kong, and of Literature in Manchester. As a literary scholar, he uses critical and cultural theory, especially the culture of cities, and particularly that of London, as a way of approaching writing on many forms and periods of literature, as well as film and opera. Professor Tambling’s many publications include, most recently, Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby, and the Dance of Death.

TORCH (en)coding Heritage Network Digital Launch - Exploring Ancient Rome through Immersive Technologies

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/06/2020 - 3:54pm in

Tags 

architecture

This digital event explores how 3D-modelling technologies and virtual reality can open new understandings of the past. Prof Matthew Nicholls describes the creation of a large-scale 3D model of Ancient Rome, exploring the use of computer modelling in the study of ancient structures. Richard Smith brings the technological perspective, discussing the tools which enable the exploration of such a model in virtual reality. The talk will focus particularly on the Theatre of Pompey, a Roman theatre complex, completed in 55 BCE, which no longer survives.

Prof Matthew Nichols is Senior Tutor at St. John's College Oxford. He previously held a lectureship and then a chair in Classics at the University of Reading. There he developed a large scale 3D model of ancient Rome, which he has used extensively in teaching, research, outreach, and commercial work, winning several national awards for teaching and innovation.

Richard Smith is Technology Support Officer at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, where he provides technology support and 3D printing, advises on 3D modelling and AR/VR projects, and leads training courses on immersive technologies. He is also the co-founder of the Oxford X-Reality Hub, Oxford's central resource for virtual and augmented reality.

Dr Lia Costiner – Merton College, hosted this event as founder of the (en)coding Heritage TORCH Network.