A New Approach to Digitizing Cultural Heritage: Constructing Immersive VR Experiences of Traditional Huizhou Architecture

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2023

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Vernacular architectural studies are an integral part of the world’s cultural heritage research. Compared with other tangible or intangible cultural heritage, the physical properties of vernacular architecture and its site-specific nature make it difficult to be physically exhibited in museums, thus limiting the dissemination of vernacular culture and impeding the potential conservation awareness of its audiences. The development of new media technology in the 21st century, represented by virtual reality in particular, has helped to alleviate this cultural communication deadlock. This thesis focuses on the traditional architecture of Huizhou, and consists of a written paper and a digital project. The written paper explores the origins of Huizhou culture and discusses how long-term developments in ethnography, social history, and the natural environment have influenced the unique appearance and design concepts of Huizhou architecture. Moreover, based on the spatial affordances of digital media, the paper discusses how virtual reality (VR) technology can enhance the experience of, accessibility to, and interactivity with Huizhou architecture as represented through 3D reconstruction. The digital part of the thesis is a VR application called “Virtual Huizhou,” and was developed in Unreal Engine 5. This application is a 3D reconstruction of Yin Yu Tang. It will also demonstrate the role of VR in enhancing visitors’ interests and evoking cultural and emotional experiences through the following aspects: 3D models, interface design, and user experience functionalities.

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Wei, Ziqiao (2023). A New Approach to Digitizing Cultural Heritage: Constructing Immersive VR Experiences of Traditional Huizhou Architecture. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27832.

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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.