Cultural Diversity and Material Imagination in Canadian Architecture

Nowhere is Canadafs rich cultural diversity more present than in the techniques of construction brought to our country by the hands of our immigrants. Whether a religious monument or a simple farm house, architecture makes visible the invisible workings of the material imagination. In this sense, the fabrication of buildings, not just their form, is a cultural artifact. Alarmingly, an increasing scarcity of specialized and skilled tradespersons, complex building codes, and industrialized building systems threaten this invaluable cultural resource. To aid in the preservation and dissemination of these traditional materials and methods of construction, we propose the use of advanced digital, immersive, and communications technologies to develop hybrid (virtual/physical) training methods and innovative knowledge creation and management. The purpose of this research is to begin to begin the first step in the largest knowledge base in the country dedicated to heritage conservation. The proposed case study involves three phases: Data acquisition, Data storage, and Hybrid visualization. A selected architectural artifact of significant historical and architectural value will be meticulously documented using 3D laser]scanning, photogrammetry, plaster casts, photography, and other appropriate techniques in order to create a edigital artifactf, a dataset which digitally contains all the empirical information we have collected about the artifact. This digital artifact will be used in the modeling of a hybrid visualization protocol for the purpose of enlightening and instructing interested persons in the craftsmanship, history, fabrication techniques, and architectural value of the artifact.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Stephen Fai


Venkatesh Prabhu


Autodesk Research


Architecture and design


Construction and infrastructure


Carleton University



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