Reality and realism in virtual architectural reconstruction
Computer-aided modelling and visualisation techniques have found widespread use in architectural practice as tools to illustrate proposed buildings and environments. The same techniques have also been utilised to aid in the interpretation of the architecture of the past, principally by recreating, in a virtual environment, structures which either no longer exist or which have been substantially altered or damaged over the years. However, much interest in this area has been focused on creating visually alluring images with a strong public appeal, with rather less emphasis given to illustrating the uncertainty that usually underlies any attempt at reconstructing the past. This thesis consists of a critical analysis of the way in which the computeraided visualisation techniques are commonly perceived and employed by researchers in architectural history and archaeology, with the 11th century church of Sant Vicenc de Cardona in Spain being used as a case study. The main issues raised are then discussed, both in terms of current trends and possible future directions, with a view to identifying a general approach to the illustration of uncertainty in virtual architectural reconstructions.