Principles and standards

We finally got around writing up the 4D Research Lab approach on 3D visualisation. For the use of virtual reconstruction in the context of academic research, it is paramount to have a clear conception on both the modeling process as well as the final result, and communicate this as well as possible. Thorough research, responsibility, transparency and verification are key-concepts here. For the 4D Research Lab principles and standards, this amounts to:

  • A principle statement, in which we define the role of 3D visualisation in academia, our views on academic rigour, accessibility and sustainability. As for academic rigour, we build forth on “The London Charter for the computer-based visualization of cultural heritage” and the “Principles of Seville, international principles of virtual archaeology”.
  • A template, which is the application of the principle statement into a standard format for execution and documentation of 3D visualisation projects, and compiling reports.
  • A definition of our take on dealing with (un)certainty in 3D visualisation, accompanied with a 6 degree classification of certainty levels.

These standards and principles will be applied to all projects of the 4D Research Lab to ensure uniformity but also to create a database to be able to compare their performance. Surely, in due course we will find that we might improve on our project template or classification of (un)certainty. We do not consider them written in stone, but as a culmination of our experience so far, and they will surely be susceptible to future evolution into better versions of themselves.

Certainty Class









Scanned remains


Quite certain


Logical extension

Missing part of relatively complete


Moderately certain


Close parallel

Same type, direct relation


Not so certain


General parallel

Same type, indirect relation


Quite uncertain


Historic context

General stylistic traditions


Very uncertain

Very high


Constructional argument


The tower that never was… until now

In spring this year, celebrating the launch of the lab, we had a call for small research projects making use of our services. Of course we chose one winner, but these projects were all so interesting that we decided to award all a small pilot study of their project. One of these was Gabri van Tussenbroeks project on the ‘Nieuwe Kerktoren’, the tower of the New Church at the Dam in Amsterdam.

I hear you wondering, “what tower?”, and that is exactly the issue at stake. That tower was never build. This is a fascinating history and Gabri van Tussenbroek dedicated his most recent book, “The toren van de Gouden eeuw”, to the complex of political, social and financial reasons for this stalled construction project. It was very well received, and shortlisted for the Libris Geschiedenis Price 2018. (video)

In the 17th century commentators worried that this 116 m high tower might overshadow the recently constructed new world wonder, the Amsterdam City Hall. It begs the question, what would the urban impact have been on the city centre of Amsterdam if this tower was build after all? With this question Gabri van Tussenbroek came to us.

Continue reading “The tower that never was… until now”