A Virtual Museum of Architecture: Creating an Alternative Visitor Experience

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2022

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Abstract

Although an integral part of art historical studies, authentic experiences of architecture have been excluded from the cathedrals of cultural objects, art museums. The built forms can seldomly fit into the doors of museums like art objects in a collection, due to their physical sizes and inseparable links with their surrounding environment. When architecture is presented under traditional museum setting, the visitor experience is often mediated and created by photos, videos, and scaled models. When architectures are converted into public spaces like tourists’ sites, onsite experiences in these spaces are typically biased for a particular duration of time and weather. Interaction with the space is limited due to preservation concerns. This project aims to provide an alternative architectural experience in response to these above limitations using digital methods, instead of trying to substitute the traditional museum experience or the authentic onsite experience. The digital component of this project curates a virtual space using the early access version of Unreal Engine 5, as an exploration of the state-of-the-art technologies in rendering virtual spaces. The project contains three example scenes: Church of the Light, Glass House, and Dom-Ino House. Instead of merely promoting a virtual or a physical experience of architecture, this study takes a critical stance towards the growing attention around digitization and discusses the possibilities of experiencing architecture in a virtual setting.

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Qian, Xinyue (2022). A Virtual Museum of Architecture: Creating an Alternative Visitor Experience. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25377.

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Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.