Archives + 3D: My guest blog post on Sketchfab

Beverley Gate Hull render of 3D model, Hannah Rice
Beverley Gate image render by Hannah Rice

I recently wrote a guest blog post for Sketchfab on my methods for recreating built heritage using archives, Blender 3D software and some heritage interpretation. Many thanks to the Sketchfab Cultural Heritage Lead Tom Flynn and the team! ūüôā

You can read my post on the Cultural Heritage section of Sketchfab: Bringing Built Heritage to (Digital) Life

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Archives in 3D Workshop

For those interested in learning (from scratch!) how to 3D model historical buildings from architectural plans:

 

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3D Reconstruction: Hotham House in Beverley, Yorkshire

Hotham House, Beverley, East Yorkshire by Hannah Rice. Model overlay on Architectural Design by Colen Campbell, 1715
Hotham House, Beverley, East Yorkshire by Hannah Rice. Orthographic model overlay on the original Architectural Design by Colen Campbell in Vitruvius Britannicus, 1715. Copyright: Hannah Rice.

As the Hotham house in Beverley, East Yorkshire was demolished  over 200 years ago I thought I would carry out some 3D visualisation work on what the building may have looked like in the 18th Century based on the 1715 architectural design.

You may have heard of Sir John Hotham (1st Baronet), who in 1642 refused Charles I of England entry to Kingston Upon Hull, and as a result, contributing to the beginnings of the English Civil War. Over half a century later a member of his extended family, Charles Hotham (4th Baronet), built a grand classical house down Eastgate in the nearby town of Beverley. It was designed by the renowned Georgian architect Colen Campbell who is credited as the founder of the style.

Location of Hotham's house in Eastgate Beverley
Eastgate today where Hotham’s house would have been located in C18th Beverley

Hotham purchased and demolished several properties down the East side of Eastgate to build his new home (East Riding Archives DDBC/16/67). ¬†Built between 1716-1721, the ¬†neo-Palladian house was intended to be a family home yet the¬†house remained empty after Charles’¬†death in January 1723 and was demolished after 50 years.

Creating the¬†Model in Blender: I modelled¬†the front facade of the Hotham house with as much accuracy¬†to Colen Campbell’s elevation drawing¬†in his published work Vitruvius Britannicus (1715). As with most visualisation works, some interpretation had to be made when thinking about the window styles, doorway and material colour.

Balustrade of Hotham House Beverley, 3D modelling by Hannah Rice
Modelling the balustrade.

Campbell does not make clear which building materials were used. Records show that Hotham purchased local red bricks for the building (Hull University Archives, DDHO/15/4) yet Campbell’s design is absent of¬†brickwork. I decided to texture the facade with a stucco-material as this possibly would have been applied on top of the brick surface. Stucco is also a key characteristic of classical architecture.

Texturing Hotham House, Beverley, 3D model by Hannah Rice
Texturing Hotham House

The symmetrical nature of¬†neo-Palladian architecture meant that Blender’s mirror modifier tool came in handy, saving a lot of modelling time!¬†It would have been useful if Campbell¬†had drawn side elevations, so to interpret the¬†scale of the side facades I used the accompanying ground plan to model an appropriate measurement based on proportions.

Hotham house, Beverley untextured 3D model by Hannah Rice
Hotham house Beverley untextured 3D model, perspective view
Hotham House Eastgate Beverley 3D model by Hannah Rice
Perspective view of Charles Hotham’s house down Eastgate, Beverley. Copyright: Hannah Rice

William Burrow’s 1747 map of Beverley shows the Eastgate location of the house fronted by a possible¬†semicircular courtyard. Modelling the surrounding gardens and wider environment would be the next challenge to progress this model. This brings to light new questions relating to what the¬†surrounding 18th-century Beverley landscape looked like, research into the garden design of the house and whether to populate the visualisation with people.

Hotham House Eastgate Beverley 3d model by Hannah Rice
Copyright: Hannah Rice

My Blog Post on The National Archives website

Have a look at my blog post on The National Archives website:

From Letters to Lego, Manuscripts to Minecraft“.

In this post I describe what I’ve been getting up to in the world of archives so far in my Transforming Archives Traineeship at the Hull History Centre.¬†Many thanks go to Emma Stagg, Transforming Archives Project Manager, for coordinating these- I’m looking forward to seeing all the other trainee’s posts about their traineeships!

Also have a read of Emma’s blog post “Transforming Archives Traineeships” where she announces the new traineeships for cohort 2.

A Video Tour of the Hull History Centre Recreated in Minecraft

Here’s a quick video I made of the Hull History Centre recreated in Minecraft as part of our HullCraft project. My idea behind recreating the centre in the game was so Minecrafters could be introduced to the concept of archives in an immersive and relatable way, the centre being the first building they see on entry to the HullCraft server.

From the searchrooms to the archive strongrooms, Minecrafters can explore the centre before heading through a portal to plots of land where they will recreate historical architecture from one of the archive’s architectural plans.

My video was recorded using the default texture as to be instantly recognisable as a Minecraft build. It gives a simple tour of the archives and (a very brief!) mentioning of some of the collection themes, hopefully providing an introductory overview of what the Hull History Centre has to offer!

From Heritage Quay to the Wellcome Collection

I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks attending more conferences representing the fantastic Hull History Centre, this time at Heritage Quay in Huddersfield and the Wellcome Collection in London.

Firstly, on the 16th April I went to Heritage Quay with Simon Wilson, Acting University Archivist, and Claire Weatherall, Project Archivist to speak at the Northern Collaboration Learning Exchange event. The theme of this event was “Developing Archives” and was highly relevant with it being based on university archives (I am seconded to the Hull University Archives at the Hull History Centre).

Simon Wilson Northern Collaboration Talk

Simon carried out a highly interesting talk on the Hull History Centre’s joint partnership model between the University of Hull and the Hull City Council and how this works in practice. It was great to see photos of the development of the History Centre from 2010 (which I had never seen before!) and to see how far the archives had come along. It made me feel very proud to be working there!

Claire Weatherall Presenting at Northern CollaborationMyself and Claire presented on Architectural Archives: New Models of Outreach based on the collections of architect Francis Johnson. Claire began the talk explaining her role as project archivist for the Francis Johnson & Partners collection (U DFJ) and the many strands that she has developed from her cataloguing work- including exploration of the possibility to use a GIS mapping interface with the catalogued works, use of volunteers, and the development and implementation of Lego & Craft days called History Makers.

For the second half of the talk¬†I presented on our¬†HullCraft project which stems from Claire’s work with the Francis Johnson collection. I explained how we are using Johnson’s architectural plans to engage a wider, and younger, audience using the computer game Minecraft as an educational platform.

It was great to hear from the other speakers talk about their archives- the team at Heritage Quay and Alison Cullingford (University of Bradford). Thank you to Heritage Quay for having us! A day at Heritage Quay could not go without mentioning their brilliant interactive displays- it was like a dream come true for me! We experimented with their giant gesture-recognition wall which was linked up to their online catalogue, and also their touchscreen displays (see photos below).

Heritage Quay giant wall         Heritage Quay Touchscreen

Once Northern Collaboration was over, I ventured to London to the Wellcome Collection to present a poster session called HullCraft: Using Digitised Archival Collections for Outreach at the Museum Librarians & Archivists Group (MLAG) conference “The D-Word: Tips & Tricks for Digitising Library & Archive Collections” (24th April 2015).

MLAG Conference 2015
Full house!

This conference featured a fantastic set of speakers who gave advice on every part of the digitisation process, from planning, writing a funding proposal, technicalities, accessibility and digital preservation. Many thanks to the Internet Archive for giving us a tour of their sophisticated digitisation suite.

Hannah Rice HullCraft Poster at MLAGI was carrying out a poster session on our HullCraft project, telling delegates the story of how we are digitising architectural plans of Francis Johnson’s work and engaging a hard to reach audience using Minecraft. I had a very enjoyable day talking to a wide variety of people from other archives and museums about the project, and was was thrilled to find out that other archives are beginning to plan their own Minecraft-related projects.

Overall it was a very useful¬†event (and highly¬†organised- thank you¬†Melanie Grant and Jane Bramwell!) and I came away with lots of great digitisation advice that will be of use during my Transforming Archives traineeship at the Hull History Centre. If you want to find out more about the conference¬†I highly recommend viewing Caitlin Moore’s Storify¬†as it¬†provides¬†a great summary of the event!

Links:  MLAG blog and Twitter,  Heritage Quay website and Twitter.

Lots of laughs were had!
Lots of laughs were had!