Virtual HagiaSophia: Restitution, Visualization and Virtual Life Simulation

Foni, A., Papagiannakis, G., Magnenat-Thalmann, N., “Virtual HagiaSophia: Restitution, Visualization and Virtual Life Simulation“, UNESCO World Heritage Congress Proceedings, Beijing, October 2002



This paper presents a case study centered on the virtual restitution and virtual life simulation of a highly complex and endangered heritage edifice: the church of Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul, Turkey (added in 1996 in the annual list of endangered monuments by the World Monuments Watch). The goal of this article is to describe the techniques used in order to achieve a photo-realistic simulation of the selected space and its characters, as well as to point out the challenges and solutions that such a work implies at different stages in production. Most of these issues are mainly focused on the reconstruction of the architecture of the site, but in order to achieve an accurate simulation the social aspect must not be forgotten. The importance of a heritage site resides as well in the historical characters and the social interactions that were taking place there: this information allows a better understanding of the function and the importance of the selected site in connection with the cultural aspects of the life at a certain time. In order to strengthen the feeling of immersion in a heritage edifice virtually restituted, it is important to recreate virtual life and describe the timely evolutionary aspects of the edifice as well. [PDF]