Online 3D Qilou: The Distribution of Heritage with VR and Mapping

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



Given the growing digitization of cultural heritage, there is an opportunity to leverage digital technologies in order to better serve visitors, against the limitations of people’s traditional approaches to heritage in museums and sites. Digitalizing heritage has become part of the national agenda of many countries, including China. This thesis aims to improve the experience of Chinese heritage for online visitors, by investigating how online three-dimensional representations can support and enhance the experience of viewing heritage for a wider audience. The thesis is comprised of a paper and a digital project. It focuses on Qilou, a kind of Chinese architectural heritage distributed in southeast Asia and southeast China, as a case study practice and develops a prototype for its online 3D presentation, in an effort to develop a real-life application as well as to seek ideas for a future exhibition possibilities. With an emphasis of expressing the historical context of Qilou’s distribution, the digital project used the methodology of online 3D models with virtual reality space as well as story map to assemble and visualize Qilou’s spread from different regions. Through the design of interactivity, ambience, and navigation, the online 3D models can generate an immersive and compelling experience for visitors.





Ruan, Kaiyin (2023). Online 3D Qilou: The Distribution of Heritage with VR and Mapping. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


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