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Project

Opening Up Lost Medieval Fortresses in the County of Flanders in 3D

3D-reconstructions of buildings and interiors are a vital research tool and means of communication for art and architectural historians. Because such visualisations are generally based on partial historical evidence, there is always a degree of interpretation in their creation. Existing models often present a single and final representation without making design decisions visible. A clear method that integrates the model’s sources with the presentation of alternative solutions is not yet developed. This project focusses on the late medieval defensive programme of the dukes of Burgundy in the Low Countries. They built impressive fortresses, which belonged to the largest military construction works of their time in Europe. Despite their importance, these constructions have hardly been studied. Their evaluation has seriously been hampered by their total destruction; barely anything remains above ground nowadays. As a result, these structures have not been appreciated and their design has been interpreted as entirely traditional, following the 12th-century model of the French royal “château philippien”. However, there are significant clues that cast doubt on this interpretation. Plagued by enduring conflicts with neighbouring territories and many internal struggles, the Low Countries were an important theatre of war at the end of the 14th century, a period in which warfare underwent a major transformation due to the introduction of cannons. The fortresses were carefully planned by builders with ample military experience, and usually multiple advisors were consulted, including military commanders and master craftsmen from abroad. To evaluate the current scholarly interpretation, a proper understanding of the fortresses is needed. To what extent were they innovative military structures? Or was their architectural design determined by other factors, such representational requirements?
Date:1 Oct 2022 →  Today
Keywords:Architectural history
Disciplines:Architectural history and theory