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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

Z. Karabiber Yüksel, C.Binan, R. Unver
Yildiz Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, Turkey - (karabi, runver)@yildiz.edu.tr, binancb@tnn.net
KEY WORDS: Heritage, Virtualisation, Architecture, Conservation
CAHRISMA - “Conservation of the Acoustical Heritage by the Revival and Identification of Sinan’s Mosque’s Acoustics’’, research
project carried on within the Fifth Framework INCO-MED Programme of the European Commission, is designed by the goal to
innovate the acoustical heritage concept in the field of architectural conservation. The main objectives of this research are
identification, revival and conservation of architectural heritage in a new way. Objective and subjective evaluations and audio-visual
reconstruction of Sinan’s Mosques and Byzantine Churches in interactive 3D virtual environments are the basic approaches of the
project. Virtual restoration, virtual conservation, and determination of different significant acoustical effects are the main results. In
this paper CAHRISMA Project which takes place in the intersection of architectural conservation and virtual reality is presented.
Conservation of the cultural heritage covers all sorts of efforts
to protect and transfer the historical document in its all
authenticity to future. That' s why, conservation of the
architectural heritage includes the presentation of the artwork to
the society by all its different dimensions and past usages,
besides the protection. There are three phases of the
architectural work. First phase is the construction and
utilization of the building for an identified function where every
kind of hardware and elements are present to serve the function.
The second phase starts soon after the first one and lasts during
the whole life of the building. The rate of the alterations that an
architectural work sustains throughout the second phase differs
upon cultural and social environment. However it is not easy to
expose this historic stratification on a protected and utilized
building. The recent situation of the building where we met and
interfere to the architectural heritage depending on the
conservation concepts and principals is the third phase. The
point of view at the third phase is different; the building is more
then a simple coverage of human activities, it is an historical
document and a mirror to the social and cultural development
The aim of the CAHRISMA Research Project is the
presentation of the architectural heritage to the community
beside its physical being that we met at the third phase. To
illustrate the different layers and stratifications of the
architectural heritage has always been a difficult task because of
the concerns about possible harms on the physical structure of
the work. It is not always possible to illuminate all of these
features by drawings and texts and moreover this method is
generally only comprehensible by experts. By the developments
of computer technology, it is now possible to recreate
environments belonging to one of the different periods of the
building in virtual reality and present it together with the
artificial environment visualising the cultural features of the
related period. Till nowadays these works were limited to visual
perception, however it is possible to recreate different
environments effecting human' s various perceptions.
CAHRISMA, ‘The conservation of Acoustical Heritage by the
Revival and Identification of Sinan’s Mosques’ Acoustics’, an
interdisciplinary research project carried on within the EC Fifth
Framework INCO MED programme, will provide one of the
pioneering products in this field. CAHRISMA is a three-year
project, started in February 2000. The participants of the project
are Yildiz Technical University-YTU (Turkey), Technical
University of Denmark-DTU (Denmark), Università degli Studi
di Ferrara-UNIFE (Italy), École Polytechnique Fédérale de
Lausanne-EPFL (Switzerland), University of Geneva-UNIGE
(Switzerland), AEDIFICE (France) and University of Malta-
UOM (Malta).
Basic goals of the CAHRISMA Project are identification,
revival, and conservation of the combined architectural heritage
(visual + acoustical heritages) in a real time virtual
environment, like one Time Machine. This project supported by
European Commission will open new dimensions having
boundaries difficult to dream within the architectural
conservation concept.
For the realisation of the mentioned goals, three Sinan’s
mosques from 16 th Century; Kadirga Sokullu, Siileymaniye,
Selimiye and three Byzantine churches from ll lh Century,
SS.Sergius and Bachus, Hagia Eirene (St. Irene), Hagia Sophia
(St. Sophie) are selected as the worship spaces to work on at the
project. These worship spaces are well known for their good
acoustical qualities.
This paper aims to present the CAHRISMA Project which takes
place in the intersection of architectural conservation and
virtual reality, spotting that the acoustically supported virtual
restitutions would be one of the major steps to transport the
architectural heritage to the future.
Advanced interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary features
should be used in the identification and conservation of the
‘Combined Architectural Heritage’. A methodology that will
have apparent benefits both in identification and conservation
fields has been developed in order to transfer the ‘Combined