Oculus 03 7 Outstanding Examples of Cultural Heritage in 3D Models, As Selected by Sketchfab

7 Outstanding Examples of Cultural Heritage in 3D Models, As Selected by Sketchfab

Using photogrammetry to capture and model existing buildings is a fantastic way to share cultural treasures with the world, and with VR features cropping up everywhere even enables us to give people virtual tours of a site of cultural significance from thousands of miles away. But beyond that, capturing a model of a building is also a great way to digitally preserve that structure at a given point in time – this technique is even being used by Harvard and Oxford to protect structures placed at risk by the ongoing wars in Syria and Iraq.

In that spirit, our friends over at Sketchfab have compiled a selection of cultural treasures that have been immortalized on their platform. Read on to see all seven models, and don’t forget that you can view all of them in virtual reality using Google Cardboard.

Jableh Theater, Syria


Constructed in the first half of the third century AD, the Roman Theater of Jableh was designed to seat around 7,000 spectators, and was a key factor in establishing Jableh, on the coast of Syria, as an important city in the late Roman Empire.

Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome, Italy


The Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome – also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian – has a long and complex history which reflects the dramatic changes that have taken place in the city over two millennia. Originally built in 139 AD to house the remains of the Emperor Hadrian and his family, the building’s tombs were destroyed when the building was converted into a military fortress in 401 AD. Almost a millenium later, the building began to be used by the Popes of the Catholic Church as a refuge, fortress and even a prison. Now, the building is a museum.

Qubbat al-Khazna (Dome of the Treasury) at the Ummayad Mosque, Damascus, Syria


Built in the courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria, the Qubbat al-Khazna originally held the mosque’s endowments and precious manuscripts. The small octagonal structure was completed in 789 AD, and like the mosque itself was decorated with mosaics which show hints of both earlier Syrian patterning and an early development of Islamic decoration.

Baroncelli Chapel at the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence, Italy


The Baroncelli Chapel at the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence is notable for its many frescoes depicting biblical stories of the Virgin Mary, painted between 1328 and 1338 by Taddeo Gaddi. In the above model by Matthew Brennan, each of these frescoes are labeled with annotations to outline the stories depicted.

Church of the Gesù, Rome, Italy


Constructed in the 16th century, the Church of the Gesù – or to give its full name, Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Gesù all’Argentina – is considered by many to be the first example of Baroque architecture. Designed by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola until his death in 1575, the construction was then taken over by Giacomo della Porta, who revised the building’s main facade and parts of its interior, seen in the model above. Giacomo della Porta’s design included more dynamic flourishes that would go on to influence the design of many later churches, especially those in the new world.

Segovia Cathedral, Spain


Built in the 16th century, the Segovia Cathedral is in a way remarkable for how young it is; by that time in most of the rest of Europe, its late Gothic stylings had become thoroughly unfashionable. However, the building is notable for its fine Gothic vaults, which can be seen in the model above. Interestingly, though it focuses on these vaults, the model makes use of a low-poly approximation of the rest of the church to give context to the element it wishes to highlight.

Painted Hall, Greenwich, London


Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, Greenwich’s Painted Hall is notable for its decoration by the artist James Thornhill. Completed in simple oil paints rather than as a true fresco, these paintings were recently the subject of an extensive restoration.

Citylife Apartments / Zaha Hadid Architects

Citylife Apartments  / Zaha Hadid Architects, © Simón Garcia
© Simón Garcia

© Simón Garcia © Simón Garcia © Simón Garcia © Simón Garcia +18

  • Structural project

    Msc Associati, Milan (danilo campagna)
  • Systems

    Hilson Moran Italia
  • Architectural Envelopes

  • Interior Lobbies

  • Marble Floors

  • Wooden Floors

    Antonini Legnani
  • Gardens

  • Client

    Citylife spa
  • Main Contractor

    Tre Torri Contractor/City Contractor
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© Simón Garcia

© Simón Garcia

From the architect. The skyline of Zaha Hadid’s CityLifeMilano housing complex is defined and characterized by a sinuous fluid line. Residences are comprised of seven curved buildings of varying heights, from 5 to 13 floors. The distinctive architectural elements include a serpentine movement of the curved balconies and the profile of the roofs, which provide a soft and elegant shape for all of the top-floor penthouses, complete with extensive covered terraces. Construction of the residential complex began in august 2009, with delivery of the first apartments scheduled for 2013.

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Great care has been given to the site and building orientation, taking into account environmental and comfort requirements so that most apartments face south-east and at the same time allocate the best views from the terraces, towards the city or the public park.

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© Simón Garcia

© Simón Garcia
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Floor Plan

Floor Plan
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© Simón Garcia

© Simón Garcia

Façade materials – fiber concrete panels and natural wood panels – emphasize the complex’s volumetric movement and at the same time give a private and domestic quality to the interior of the residential courtyard.
The interiors open onto extensive terraces. All of the apartments feature structural and plant solutions that can be easily adapted to individual needs. Each of the homes is different from the others in terms of size, exposure and layout: from two- rooms to large family apartments and twin-level penthouses.

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At ground level, the double-height lobbies are flooded with light by large openings stretching from floor to ceiling, designed to confer strong visual continuity with the park. Access to all stairwells is provided by main and service lifts. The underground parking areas lead directly to the individual buildings with easy, convenient and secure access.

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© Simón Garcia

© Simón Garcia

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