Digital Heritage Workshop: Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
- History, Technology, and Experience Design -


Do you remember the image of a building on the US five cent coin? It is the mountaintop home of President Jefferson.

This workshop is a sequel to the three previous Digital Heritage subjects in the spring of 2013-15, in which students conducted fieldwork using on-site digital capture and developed digital representation prototypes, while studying Renaissance architecture by Palladio (1508-1580) in Italy. The class this year visits Monticello in Virginia, where we study and capture the architecture of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), author of the Declaration of Independence, founding father, third President of the United States, scholar, and architect, who studied Palladio through his copies of The Four Books of Architecture.

The workshop will combine architectural history and digital technology for design pedagogy and exploratory research, and provide students opportunities to develop online/offline prototypes representing the place and its history for visitors, through applications of contemporary digital methods. They include photogrammetric modeling, panoramic video, game engine, drone, Kinect, Oculus Rift, AR, and mobile application. The class is run by collaborating historian, architect, and technology expert with guests, and is open to all motivated students, graduate and undergraduate, in Architectural and Urban Design, Computation, History, Media Art, and other relevant fields.

Our goal is to rethink architecture, and to redesign its experience.

Spring 2016 - Class Information

    Takehiko Nagakura (takehiko@mit.edu, Associate Professor, MIT)
    Howard Burns (Professor at Scoula Normale Superiore, Pisa)
    Daniel Tsai (dtsai@mit.edu, Research Fellow, MIT SAP)

TA: Woongki Sung (noclew@mit.edu)

The first class meeting is on Monday, February 8, 11:00 AM, Room 5-216

Regular Class Hours: Monday 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM (Rm 5-216)
Lab/Seminar (subject to change): Tuesday, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (TBA)
Limited Enrollment: 8-10 students
Fieldwork: Participation in the sponsored trip to Monticello and nearby area during the spring break (March 21-26) is required.

   Thomas Jefferson Foundation and its museum in Charlottesville, VA
   Department of Architecture, MIT

* Undergrad students should sign up 4.550 and grad students should do 4.570.
* This class is a sequel following the same subject number in spring 2013-5, and may be taken repeatedly with the permission of instructors.


Project Example Developped from 2013 Workshop: Villa Poiana in Augmented Reality Tablet

Multirama homepage

Project Example Developped from 2014 Workshop: Villa Foscari captured in Unity3D

i_Palladio homepage

Project Example Developped from 2015 workshop: Palladio, Burns and 360

(Interactive Panorama Video)

* Use Chrome browser to interactively scroll the view with mouse while playing the video.

Examples of project topics:
  • Use of photogrammetry/RGBd tools on-site for digitally capturing built forms, texture, as well as movement of people
  • Construction and interface design of multi-disciplinary database of text, artifact, form, texture, drawing, photography, and video
  • Interactive educational tool that uses game engine and helps museum visitors to learn the history and architecture of the heritage
  • Mobile application: augmented reality on site or in museum for visualization of demolished, incomplete or hidden state of the building
  • 3D panoramic/stereographic delivery of immersive, VR experience in built/un-built spatial design
  • Mining big data for analysis and visualization of the heritage as it exists in the mind of people

For up-to-date schedule, assignments and topics of the weekly classes, visit and log-in to the Steller site below.

(Scenes from 2014 workshop)

Education | Research | Who we are | Gallery | Bookmarks
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

All rights reserved.