Around the World in 80 Models: Montesa

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Hop on board as we continue our journey Around the World in 80 Models! We began our itinerary at Sketchfab headquarters in New York and are working our way through Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, South America, and North America. To catch up on past destinations, check out the rest of the Around the World in 80 Models series.

This week we meet up with architectural historian Ed Triplett in Montesa, Spain to take a look at his partial reconstruction of a hilltop castle-convent.

Montesa, Spain: Castillo-Convento de Montesa

My Name is Ed Triplett, and I am currently a Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke University. I received my PhD in Architectural History from the University of Virginia in 2015.

This model represents a partial reconstruction of the Castillo-Convento de Montesa. It is a 14th-century fortress-monastery that acted as the headquarters for a new military-monastic order of knights in the province of Valencia, Spain. It is one of only a handful of extant structures of its kind in Iberia that took a complete monastic core – with cloister, church, dormitories, and refectory – and wrapped it in a fortified, hilltop castle. After the destruction of the Order of Templars, the Christian King James II explained to Pope John XXII that he needed to found a replacement Order on the frontier to protect Christian settlers from Muslim insurrections that flared up in the nearby town and castle of Xativa. Montesa is sited on a hilltop overlooking a valley that connected Xativa and the Mediterranean to the interior of the Iberian Peninsula.

This model was constructed as part of my dissertation titled A Wall of the Faithful: Spatial Analysis of Military Order Architecture on Medieval Iberia’s Religious Frontier. The extant site was captured in 3D using a completely photogrammetric process. Over 10,000 photographs were taken on site using a combination of terrestrial, pole-aerial and kite-aerial methods. After the photos were processed into a dense point cloud using the open source software Visual SFM, the data was cleaned and meshed in Meshlab and Cloud Compare (both open-source). The dense mesh was retopologized using 3D Coat, and the transparent reconstruction was accomplished in 3D Studio Max 2014 by snapping to the dense mesh.

Above is a screencast of the sparse point cloud being populated in VisualSFM from Kite Aerial photos.


Flying the kite over Montesa in 2013.

This model is still a bit of a labor of love. Photogrammetry was new to me when I captured the data in 2013, and I struggled a lot finding low-budget ways to capture and process the photos. The kite photography in particular was both a revelation and a nerve-wracking experience.

To see more of Ed’s models here on Sketchfab, check out his profile!

About the author

Abby & Néstor

Abby and Néstor are Sketchfab Masters.
Abby Crawford, Ph.D. is trained in and passionate about Roman Archaeology and works as a freelance artifact illustrator and 3D scanner in California.
Néstor F. Marqués is a virtual Heritage & cultural diffusion researcher, and an enthusiast of ancient Rome’s culture.

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