Framing Digital Tools and Techniques in Built Heritage 3D Modelling: The Problem of Level of Detail in a Simplified Environment

By Moulay Larbi Chalal and Riccardo Balbo.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 18, 2014 $US5.00

Recently, the built heritage sector has witnessed an increase demand for 3D models of historical sites mainly due to the widespread of new technologies in buildings’ surveying. Although these technologies have been credited for enabling highly detailed 3D modelling of the built heritage, their implementation is still so complex and costly. This research aims to explore the possibility of implementing new low-cost digital acquisition technologies and modelling techniques as an alternative to the existing expensive ones in terms of level of detail (LOD), as an attempt to enable low-skilled users in simplified environment, which are faced paced leaning milieus in education, places with high constraints, or developing countries, to practically learn about their built heritage; consequently, contribute to its preservation. To achieve this purpose, the most diffused SFM and laser scanning open-source packages were first cross-compared using web-content analysis data collection method. Afterwards, the best programme from each category namely; Autodesk 123D catch and Reconstructme, accompanied with Canon D550 camera and Xbox Kinect, respectively, were intensively evaluated through an experiment. The analysis of the findings has suggested that low-cost close-range photogrammetry can replace laser scanning when there is a lack of funding and time.

Keywords: Level of Detail (LOD), Developing Countries, Low-cost, The Built Heritage, Surveying Technologies

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 4, Issue 2, April 2014, pp.39-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 18, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 771.239KB)).

Moulay Larbi Chalal

Student, The School of the Built Environment, The University of Salford Manchester, Salford, Greater Manchester, UK

I am a young ambitious Algerian architect who has just successfully accomplished his master degree in Digital Architectural design from the University of Salford Manchester with distinction. In addition, the winner of the “2013 Emerald/ international journal of Disaster Resilience prize for master dissertation”. Apart from my academic qualifications, I worked as an architect at SET ART, a prominent building company in Algeria, for a year. I also had an invaluable experience in summer 2012 while doing my internship at ARC3 which is a British architectural firm situated in London. My long term career goal is to become a professor in Digital architecture; but for now, I am setting my sights on achieving a PhD which will increase my knowledge and skills and open the door of academia for me. My strengths are that I am a highly motivated individual with a passion for architecture.

Dr. Riccardo Balbo

Lecturer, Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy

Qualified Architect (1998), PhD in Theory and Construction of Architecture (2007), has been Lecturer in Urban design and regeneration, program director of the MSc Urban Design and Regeneration as well as MSc Digital Architectural Design between 2008 and 2013 at the School of the Built Environment, University of Salford (UK). He is appointed at the Polytechnic of Turin (Italy) as Temporary Professor at the School of Architecture where he has taught Urban morphology, Architectural IT, Architectural Design studios 1 (2004/6) and Architectural and Urban design studio 1 and 3 (taught in English - 2007/present). He is member of the scientific committee of the CRD-PVS, Documentation and Research centre in Technology, Architecture and City in Developing Countries, Polytechnic of Turin and adjunct professor at the Habitat, Technology and Development master, coordinator of the Slum(e)scape design Studio (2005/current). Since January 2012 he is program director of the Master in Sustainable Architecture, IED, Turin, Italy. He has worked as an architect, researcher and lecturer, since 1997, in various diverse, interdisciplinary and international institutions, shaping a certain stance and a dominant philosophy for all his academic and professional endeavours. This philosophy entails creating a balanced link and mutual feedback mechanism between research, teaching and engagement with the industry. The link becomes even more relevant in the subject field of Architectural and Urban design, where theory and practice are almost inseparable and "learning by doing" and "teaching by research" are at the core of architectural education. He is Members of Urban Quality Research Centre and ICT in Construction Research Centre (SOBE) and co-founder of MInD (Mediated Intelligence in Design) Research group; member of the Advisory board of the Design Directorate at SOBE. He also manages his own architectural firm in Turin since 1996, where he is or has been consultant for SITI, I3P - Incubator at Politecnico di Torino, SISTER, CCIAA Provincia di Torino. Since 2009 he is consultant for Fondazione Ordine Architetti Torino and member of the scientific board of Transmitting Sustainable City (OAT). He has presented his work in many conferences or as invited speaker in workshops and lectures.