3D-reconstruction of a Venetian Palace of the 14th Century

For about ten years, the use of computer-generated images and 3-dimensional reconstructions radically exploded, investing several domains like the  media, the culture and so on. For instance, the face of Ramses II at 50 years old was recently reconstructed using some powerful technologies. These “new images”, “new representations” give new information, collect additional data and complete the heritage. Moreover, this new trend  is very often useable by public users, as we know that the digital humanities science has a certain goal of giving more and more open information. Even better, these representations are becoming templates. Indeed, nowadays, almost every archeological documentaries or heritage expositions feature 3-dimensional reconstructions. To sum up, our ancestors’ legacy belongs to everyone and with this project, we really want to contribute to the restitution of the past memory.

Our project aims to restitute a typical Venetian Palace of the Italian Renaissance. With the support of Stefania Coccato, art and historical expert from Ca’ Foscari university of Venice, we decided to work on the 3D reconstruction of Niccolò da Carrara’s Palace.

Niccolò da Carrara (1282 – 1344) was part of the very noble Carraresi family. This family came from Padova, but Niccolo da Carrara lived most of his life in Venice, where he was exiled. He was a strong politician of the 14th century who led  unconventional politics. Thanks to his rather famous status, it is possible to find some information on him. Furthermore, as he had a similar lifestyle as many others of his social class, it is socially and culturally relevant to reproduce the atmosphere of his intimate life. But we don’t want to forget that our main goal is to recreate a typical palace from the 14th century. Therefore, any informations on the nobility’s 14th century lifestyle can be useful, not only the Niccolo da Carrara information.

Niccolò da Carrara’s palace, which is now destroyed, was located in Santa Lucia’s Parish. Nowadays, this place corresponds to the new railway station in Venice.

As stated before, the palace is destroyed, which constitutes one of the big challenges. We will have to cross informations on the palace itself, and other ones which could approximatively look like it. According to our current informations, the palace was quite spacious. Therefore, we decided to focus firstly on the exterior of the palace and the bedroom, which is a room that was far more important in the typical houses of the 14th century than it is now. For example, it was in the 14th century that the four poster bed made its first appearance, the bed being slung from the ceiling or fastened to the walls, a form which developed later into a room within a room, shut in by double curtains, sometimes even so as to exclude all drafts. The space between bed and wall was called the ruelle, and very intimate friends were received there. If possible, we will try to add a few other rooms to the model as well.

Finally comes the question of technical issues. The first step of the project consists in gathering as much data as possible. We want to establish a complete inventory of every objects of his room, and be able to position each one of them in the right place. When we will have our model in mind, and after making some sketches of the room, we will start to compile our data on SketchUp. In order to make our reproduction interactive, we will use Unity-3D to allow the end-user to move around the room freely. The aim would be to  give the opportunity to end users to make a virtual visit of a bedroom in a 14th Century Palace.

Capture d’écran 2014-12-09 à 13.29.12

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Here is our organizational schedule over the 14 weeks of the semester:


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As said earlier, a total reconstitution of the palace is too much work for our group. We will therefore put our researches and reproductions at the public’s disposal with the hope other persons will contribute to the expansion of the model. A complete reproduction may be used for educational purposes and maybe even in a documentary or a museum.


Nicolas de Raemy

Antoine Poncelin Deraucourt

Mateo Dugand