Around the World in 80 Models: Segovia, pt. 2

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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 remain in Segovia, where Sketchfab Master Néstor F. Marqués shows us a cathedral that took over 200 years to complete.

This is the second part of a two part post. You can read the first one here: Around the World in 80 Models: Segovia, pt. 1

Segovia, Spain: Catedral de Segovia

The other Segovian church I wanted to tell you about is the cathedral dedicated to Saint Mary (fig. 1). The construction of this church was started in 1525 with the guidance of the architect Juan Gil de Hontañón and his son Rodrigo and lasted until 1577, although its structure was not completed until 1699 and finally it wasn’t consecrated until 1768 (more than two centuries after the start of the project!). Its main structure was started in the late gothic style, but it was finished in the Renaissance period, which is why scholars know it as the first lady of the cathedrals as it combines the most perfect gothic structure with its renaissance finish.

Fig. 1: Saint Mary’s cathedral of Segovia.

Fig. 1: Saint Mary’s cathedral of Segovia.

But this was not the first cathedral built in Segovia. The need of a new one was the result of the destruction of the original Romanesque one in the Communities war in 1521 which confronted the king and the royalists against the Castilian middle class people fighting for their rights (you can see the ruins of the Romanesque cathedral were still visible in the drawing of Segovia made in 1562 by Anton van den Wyngaerde, fig. 2)

Fig. 2: Ruins of Saint Mary’s Romanesque cathedral in Anton van den Wyngaerde’s drawing of Segovia (1562)

Fig. 2: Ruins of Saint Mary’s Romanesque cathedral in Anton van den Wyngaerde’s drawing of Segovia (1562)

One of the most valuable plans of the cathedral preserved to our time is the original design of the vaults and its gothic nerve structure, made by Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón in 1529 (fig. 3). The photogrammetric model I present to you now was inspired by this plan as it’s the materialization of the same concept adapted to the state-of-the-art visual techniques.

Fig. 3: Original gothic vault structure plan of the cathedral. Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón 1529. Parchment 76 x 53 cm

Fig. 3: Original gothic vault structure plan of the cathedral. Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón 1529. Parchment 76 x 53 cm

Gil de Hontañón made a flat representation of the vaults almost 500 years ago, so I decided to do the same but adapted to the technology I use everyday to preserve and share cultural heritage as coordinator of the Digital Humanities Lab at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Spain. The 3D model consists of 250 20Mpx photographs taken from the ground (fig. 4) processed with Agisoft Photoscan. The point cloud reached half a billion points and the unoptimized model has over 50 million polygons.

Fig. 4: Sparse point cloud generated with Agisoft Photoscan of the vaults.

Fig. 4: Sparse point cloud generated with Agisoft Photoscan of the vaults.

My idea is to make a complete scan of the cathedral, also the exterior part (flying it with a drone like I did with the Vera Cruz church), but for now I decided to make a schematic structure of the cathedral itself to make it more understandable by anyone approaching to the model (fig. 5). This kind of low poly cover concept has been proven useful lately and acclaimed by important media like Archdaily.

Fig. 5: Four different views of the schematic structure surrounding the photogrammetric model of the cathedral.

Fig. 5: Four different views of the schematic structure surrounding the photogrammetric model of the cathedral.

To see more of Néstor’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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