Thesis Project: Virtual Heritage “interactive virtual past” july 2011
The production of an existing museum in a virtual world. villa della regina, a 15th century suburban villa, situated on the hills of torino, is used as the case study for the creation of a virtual environment, available to any internet user, which serves as an introduction for the real experience of the museum.
The room is first modelled in five different versions; ‘600, ‘700, ‘800, ‘900 and 2000. then each model is exported to the game engine software in order to become interactive environments. the five versions, or “levels” are then combined into one single application, where the user is free to examine the room, observe the details, gather information about the particular items and also change the date to view the previous states of the museum; in this case, a single room.
1600. this state represents the room in the second half of the 600, which is after the enlargment of the villa. there’s not too many concrete details about the room’s initial state, and most of the information about the room is gathered from the other rooms nearby. it is a state which relies more on estimations rather than clear facts. In this initial state we find quite a “bare” room. the only detailed or ornated part in the room is the fresco and the wooden ceiling. the walls are painted in a “marmorino” plaster with a light color. the pavement, looking at the other examples of pavement from the other rooms in the same period, is estimated to be “in cocciopesto di colore chiaro”.
1700. this state shows a resemblence of the room around the year 1755. 1755 is an exact date where the archive states the inventory found in the room a this year. this is the state where the room was transformed into the bedroom of the king. from the pavement to the volta, pretty much every element is radically changed in this state. instead of the existent “cocciopesto” pavement, the wooden tiles are added through the floor. the walls now have the oriental wallpapers, giving the room a green look. each door and window has curtains, with the matching textile. the volta is created in this century as well, and it totally covers the fresco of the 1600. 
The Bed. the bed is created by looking at other similiar examples and taking pieces from different beds. the bed is similiar to those found in the other bedrooms in torino, and piemonte region in general. while the general shape resembles a similiar geometry -the baldacchino, the curtains, the base- the texture of the textile varies from the other examples. the same chinese textile used in the wall covers up the bed as well, including the outer curtains, the base and the baldacchino. the bed sheet, inner curtains, and the ceiling of the baldacchino is estimated to be a yellow color.
1800. the virtual reconstruction of the phase 1800 shows the room’s situation around the year 1845. the room 24’s state in 1800 resembles a similar state to that of today, with some minor differences. it is known that at the year 1812 the walls had the wallpaper of today, and even though the bed existed, it had white textile. around 1845 however the bed doesn’t exist anymore, and where the bed used to stay in the 1700, now hangs a large painting of the queen. the furniture of the room has drastically decreased, creating an emptier ambient. the wallpapers are totally renewed, and the same textile still continues to exist today. the curtains are removed from the doors and windows. i chose to remove the bed from the room for 2 reasons. the first was that no precise information about the bed’s state that existed in the beginning of 1800. the second reason is that the bed was missing for the most of the 800.
1900. the state of 1900 resembles a date close to 1994 which is the state before restoration work began in the room. the 20th century, was perhaps not the gloriest period for the villa. during the second world war, in the years of 1944-45, the room (and the villa in general) was damaged because of the bombardings. many parts of the museum were heavily damaged, and like the palazzo chiablese, some structures were completely destroyed during the war. fortunately, room 24 took minimal damage.
We can see that the walls are stripped of the wallpaper, and the white plaster of the bare wall can be seen. the “volta” is slightly damaged, with its central painting missing. the mirrors are sustained by wooden supports. the pavement is damaged, and worn off. the paintings above the doors and windows were painted in white, covering the original paintings of 1700.
2000. This state shows the actual state of the room, after the restauration work that was done between the years 1995-2010. today, we find the room 24 to be completely restorated. the damages of second world war are repaired and the room has gained its glory once again. after the restoration work of the materials and furniture of the room, these objects are once again placed in their original places. the wallpapers are repaired, and reproduced as they used to be in the beginning of ‘900. the floor is repaired and completed. the portrait of the queen is placed inside the room, hanging on the eastern wall. beneath the frame, the missing “zoccolo” piece -where once existed the bed- can be noted. below the frame now stands a sofa, with one chair on each side.
The application is made available on the internet thanks to the lightweight 3d model, allowing anyone with an internet connection to visit the virtual museum from their computers. the main aim however is to promote the museum, and not to replatce or imitate the real experience. the thesis work serves as a case study and a demo for the process of a passage. and will hopefully allow the rest of the museum to be completed in the virtual environment and loaded in the internet.