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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

U. Herbig a G. Zohrer b , F. Zainolyi c
a Institute for Comparative Research in Architecture, uh@iva-icra.org
b Institute for Theory of Architecture and Historic Buildings Survey, gzoehrer@zoehrermedia.com
c Institute for Theory of Architecture and Historic Buildings Survey, zferi@archimania-vision.at
KEY WORDS: Non-metric, Architecture, Surveying, 3x3 Rules, Cultural Heritage, Anthropology
ABSTRACT: During an joint excursion of the Institute for History and Theory of Architecture and Historic Buildings Survey of the
University of Technology Vienna and the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology (Ethnology) - University Vienna the
traditional architecture of the Samoan and Fijian island have been surveyed by methods of architectural building survey and
photogrammetric usable recording.
The architectural cultural heritage of the islands of Samoa and Fiji are very special in their way of showing the culture and tradition
of their inhabitants and be a mirror of their way of living. The wooden skeleton structures of the buildings are unique and provide a
very good adoption to the climatic conditions of the region. But the traditional architecture is declining rapidly in the region of the
South Pacific as more and more people like to build their houses in a “modern” western style, which provides more comfort and
more privacy in some ways.
The aim is to create a comprehensive description of the structures of the different types of traditional buildings as long as they are
still available. For that purpose it was necessary to use fast and efficient recording methods and procedures. Photogrammetric
recording may be a sufficient way for solving this problem. But conventional photogrammetric methods using metric cameras suffer
the lacks of: being too sensitive for the climatic conditions in the region, can be handled by photogrammetrists only and finally of
just being too costly.
One of the excursion’s aims has been to prove the use of non-photogrammetric recording done by architects using the „3 x 3
Minimum Rules of Architectural Photogrammetry“ for recording wooden skeleton constructions. Several objects of different
buildings types have been recorded from their outsides and also their interiors. For that purpose it was necessary to adapt the „3 x 3
Minimum Rules of Architectural Photogrammetry“ for the recording of rooms inside a building.
The implementation of guidelines to record interiors into the „3 x 3 Minimum Rules of Architectural Photogrammetry“ and the
description of the interdisciplinary workflow for the photogrammetric restitution between photogrammetrists and architects are
described in this paper.
1.1 Task
The Institute for Comparative Research in Architecture was
founded in autumn 2002 to offer a base for scientists who are
interested in working in interdisciplinary projects concerning
architecture and the interaction between the built and the natural
With an excursion to the Pacific island groups of Samoa and
Fiji started a project for the documentation of the architectural
heritage of the Pacific region. Representatives of the Institute
for Social and Cultural Anthropology, of the University Vienna,
the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture and
Historic Building Survey and the Institute for Photogrammetry
and Remote Sensing, University for Technology Vienna visited
the islands to record traditional building structures an the
interaction between the social life and the built environment.
1.2 Traditional Architecture Samoa and Fiji
The cultural heritage is a part of our identity. What the house is
for the family, villages and cities are for municipal
communities. Buildings and their arrangement form a frame of
memory that just in absence as "home" is felt. Especially the
architecture of the South Pacific region mirrors the culture and
the art of life of its inhabitants.
The indigenous architecture of Samoa and Fiji are showing
house forms, which are unique in their structure and form
worldwide. The separate construction types differ not only in
their form and size, but also by independent construction ways.
Valid principles of architecture can generally be derived from
the typological sequence of the simple wall-column structures
about the complex frame construction up to high-complicated
suspended constructions, which contribute to an extended
understanding of the architectural development and the
interrelations between building and society.
Fig.l: Fale Tele, Samoa
Whereas in Samoa open structures are representing the open
characteristic of the society in Fiji closed forms are dominating.