Saint Laurentius Church

Saint Laurentius church

Excavations in the Saint Laurentius church (1999-2002)

Location: Ename, Belgium

Institute: Visual Dimension bvba

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The Saint Laurentius church was probably built around 995 AD in the new trade settlement Iham (today: Ename) which has been founded around 965 AD. This church has a main nave, two side naves, a double east choir and a west choir. The church is built in a pre-Romanesque, Ottonian style and is not only one of the oldest standing churches in Belgium, but has been extensively studied and excavated and contains a range of exceptional fresco wall paintings (the oldest in the Low Countries). The excavations (1999-2002), the detailed research on the building and its history and restoration, provide sufficient data to reconstruct the evolution of the Saint Laurentius church from its conception around 995 AD until today. All virtual reconstructions have been commissioned by the Provincial Museum of Ename in the period 1998-2014. The current virtual reconstructions have been made for the period 1020 to 1730. Besides interactive 3D, video, stills and photographs of the monument and its excavation will be provided. The reconstructions are supported by two blogs, one about the trade settlement and one about the abbey. 

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Surveying, excavation, stone by stone analysis by building history experts, historical research.

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Total Station, non-digital measuring devices 

Modelling Software

Modelling Software

ArchiCAD 6-15, Blender 2, Vue 10-11 

Model usU

Model Use

By providing clickable zones, a lot of information can be provided about the reconstructed period, turning the interactive reconstruction into an explorable world, that can be used for education, virtual exploration, scholarly interpretation and quality tourism. 

Processing Pipeline

Processing Pipeline

The 3D models were originally hand modelled in ArchiCAD from the plans made by the surveyors. These 3D models, made in the period 1997-2004, have been imported in Blender, where they have been revised, improved, retextured and completed. The terrain has been transformed into terrain maps for Vue, the vegetation (as provided by the expert in historical landscapes) into terrain types for Vue, with the correct types of vegetation and distribution of that vegetation. The buildings, resulting from Blender, have been imported in Vue. The methodology is explained in detail here. This all yields a 3D scene in Vue that yields outstanding visualisations through rendering. We organise the rendering in a Object VR way (i.e. a camera rotating 360 degrees around a ÿxed point) and turn the resulting images into an interactive visualisation through the software Object2VR. In the case of the Saint Laurentius church, the church is rendered for the different periods in the historical landscape that surrounds it. 

Online Delivery

Online Delivery

Not online yet. The online delivery will use the software Object2VR, which is HTML5 based. An example of the result can be seen here. Additional results will be still images and videos of the 3D models.


Licence for Dataset
Creative Commons

Creative Commons - Attribution, Non Commercial, No Derivatives.