||Potier, S., Malret, J.-L-. and Zoller, J.
||Computer Graphics: Assistance for Archaeological Hypotheses
||Digital Design Studios: Do Computers Make a Difference? [ACADIA Conference Proceedings / ISBN 1-880250-07-1] Québec City (Canada) October 22-25, 1998, pp. 366-383
||This paper is a contribution to the domain of computer tools
for architectural and archeological restitution of ancient buildings.
We describe an application of these tools to the modeling of the
14th century AD. Thermae of Constantin in Arles, south of France.
It was a diploma project in School of Architecture of MarseilleLuminy, and took place in a context defined in the European
ARELATE project. The general objective of this project is to emphasize the archeological and architectural heritage of the city of
Arles; it aims, in particular, to equip the museum of ancient Arles
with a computer tool enabling the storage and consultation of
archaeological archives, the communication of information and
exchange by specialized networks, and the creation of a virtual
museum allowing a redescription of the monuments and a “virtual” visit of ancient Arles.
Our approach involves a multidisciplinary approach, calling on architecture, archeology and computer science. The
archeologist’s work is to collect information and interpret it; this is
the starting point of the architect’s work who, using these elements, suggests an architectural reconstruction. This synthesis contains the functioning analysis of the structure and building. The
potential provided by the computer as a tool (in this case, the
POV-Ray software) with access to several three-dimensional visualizations, according to hypotheses formulated by the architect
and archaeologists, necessitates the use of evolutive models which,
thanks to the parametrization of dimensions of a building and its
elements, can be adapted to all the changes desired by the
The specific contribution of POV-Ray in architectural reconstruction of thermae finds its expression in four forms of this modeling program, which correspond to the objectives set by the architect in agreement with archeologists: (a) The parametrization of
dimensions, which contributes significantly in simplifying the
reintervention process of the architectural data base; (b) Hierarchy and links between variables, allowing “grouped” modifications of modelized elements in order to preserve the consistency
of the architectural building’s morphology; (c) The levels of modeling (with or without facing, for example), which admit of the
exploration of all structural and architectural trails (relationship form/
function); and, (d) The “model-type,” facilitating the setting up of
hypotheses by simple scaling and transformation of these models
(e.g., roofing models) on an already modelled structure.
The methodological validation of this modeling software’s
particular use in architectural formulation of hypotheses shows that
the software is the principal graphical medium of discussion between architect and archaeologist, thus confirming the hypotheses formulated at the beginning of this project.
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