A computational approach to the reconstruction of surface geometry from early temple superstructures
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Recovering the control or implicit geometry underlying temple architecture requires bringing together fragments of evidence from field measurements, relating these to mathematical and geometric descriptions in canonical texts and proposing "best-fit" constructive models. While scholars in the field have traditionally used manual methods, the innovative application of niche computational techniques can help extend the study of artefact geometry. This paper demonstrates the application of a hybrid computational approach to the problem of recovering the surface geometry of early temple superstructures. The approach combines field measurements of temples, close-range architectural photogrammetry, rule-based generation and parametric modelling. The computing of surface geometry comprises a rule-based global model governing the overall form of the superstructure, several local models for individual motifs using photogrammetry and an intermediate geometry model that combines the two. To explain the technique and the different models, the paper examines an illustrative example of surface geometry reconstruction based on studies undertaken on a tenth century stone superstructure from western India. The example demonstrates that a combination of computational methods yields sophisticated models of the constructive geometry underlying temple form and that these digital artefacts can form the basis for in depth comparative analysis of temples, arising out of similar techniques, spread over geography, culture and time.
Copyright © 2005 Multi-Science Publishing
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