EXPERIENCE AND ATMOSPHERE OF THE BUILT HERITAGE IN DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT
Keywords: user experience, atmosphere, virtual environment, sense of place, Egyptology
Abstract. The digital documentation of heritage places produces accurate 3D restitution of their geometry in a virtual environment and can be related to multiple semantic layers to archive, represent, preserve and transmit the knowledge gathered along their lifecycle. The combination of high-density point clouds with other sources of information advises virtual reconstitutions of historical states of a place’s physical realm. The cultural significance of the built heritage lies in the values associated with its tangible and intangible dimensions. Apart from aspects of values related to historical sites’ physical attributes, 3D models can support the representation of intangible elements influencing visitors’ perception of their Genius Loci and supporting new interpretations about their cultural significance. In this framework, 3D animation, rendering, and simulation technologies allow recreating aspects of a place’s atmosphere, like the simulation of lighting conditions and the user’s immersive experience of a heritage site into a virtual environment. This paper focuses on the light perception recreated in a funeral chapel of the Theban Tomb environment by considering the strong spiritual dimension in the conception of funeral sites in ancient Egypt during the New Kingdom period (1550–1069 BC). We investigate the potential of 3D simulation and animation technologies to represent hypotheses about original lighting conditions in such sites. The proposed research is based on the case study of Sennefer’s tomb chapel, also referred to as TT96A, located on the western bank of the Nile, opposite modern Luxor.