Social Results: the 3D Virtual Tours

June 2020 | M30

One of the project results related to the objective of raising awareness about concrete cultural heritage has been the development of five 3D Virtual Tours of some of the project case studies. The selected buildings have been the Institute Eduardo Torroja in Madrid, the Elogio del Horizonte in Gijon, the Memorial Towers of the first and second World War based in Torricella Peligna (Italy), the Centennial Hall in Wroclaw and the bus shelter of a Warsaw train station stop. The InnovaConcrete Virtual Tours have been produced by the technological project partner Techedge, with the support of beWarrant, who lead the shooting activity, and the building’s owners.

The Virtual Tours are reachable from the project website and gives the opportunity to everyone to virtually visit some examples of amazing buildings made of concrete in Europe and to learn about their architecture, the methods of construction and the history related to the monument or to the architect who built them.

All the monuments can be visited through panorama pictures with a  360º view giving the user the opportunity to navigate inside out and to click on some hotspots along the path, giving additional information and contents related to the importance of preserving the monument. They all have a user-friendly and responsive web interface for iOS, Android and Desktop but the Polish virtual tours, the latest tours to be developed, have additional features: a 3d Model of the monument in which is possible to navigate,  a smooth transition among images, the possibility to measure 3D elements or the whole space and to generate 360° pictures and panoramas. Last, but not least, the Virtual Tours made in Poland can be watched through a Google Cardboard or a Samsung Gear VR to have a cool virtual reality experience.

The development of digital tools for the dissemination and communication of the project has been one of the main strategy used since the design phase of the project: digital tools for cultural heritage have been identified as the key tools to raise awareness about European concrete buildings of the 20th Century as part of European’s Cultural Heritage. A preliminary analysis of citizen awareness about tangible 20th Century Cultural Heritage clearly reveals that buildings and sites built during the first half of the 20th Century (1890-1945) under the Modern Movement, currently enjoy a certain degree of recognition. However, newer buildings, particularly those with concrete as a primary finish material, suffer neglect and on-going decay. Some iconic buildings are alarmingly under threat of demolition. A representative example of such buildings is the east-European architecture from the socialism period: these buildings are often in urban environments and include bridges, residential and commercial buildings and train stations. For this reason, they are too often treated as insignificant public use structures and not recognized as important Cultural Heritage.

Digital tools for virtual visits to monuments has proved to be a key tool in this particular historical moment during which the pandemic limits the individual’s freedom to travel, still guaranteeing the right to information and keeping the thirst for knowledge alive.