Displaying a University’s Frank Lloyd Wright Artifact Reproductions: Physical and Virtual Environments

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Paulette R. Hébert
Tilanka Chandrasekera
Greg Clare


Frank. Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW), an important 20th Century American architect, also designed furnishings such as table lamps, stained glass, and statues. A University’s collection of museum reproductions of Wright’s furnishings were displayed in built-in, glass front cases in a small, in-house museum. This physical collection of artifacts did not rotate often; presented artifacts only in frontal views; and offered only limited viewing times. Researchers suspected the museum cases’ illumination was inadequate. In Part I, researchers performed an in situ study of the existing physical museum utilizing a spectrometer. This case study revealed existing, unshielded, lighting fixtures and display case light levels that did not comply with industry recommendations. Researchers made new recommendations for a retrofit featuring shielded, Light Emitting Diode (LED) strips. In Part II, researchers 3D scanned the furnishings reproductions using either a). Hand-held mobile scanner, b). Photogrammetry, or c). Desktop 3D scanner. Artifact complexity influenced the researchers’ selection of appropriate scanning method. In Part III, researchers created two versions of a virtual museum environment, based on an existing FLW house. Version 1 used Unity 3D gaming engine supporting a user’s interaction with museum artifacts. Version 2 used SketchUp and Enscape Virtual Reality (VR) tools. In Part IV, Researchers modified incomplete scans and installed scans in their new virtual museum. The virtual museum has been activated for online browsing. However, no retrofits of the physical museum’s display case lighting have yet been made. The creation of the new virtual museum supplemented the existing physical museum experience. The virtual museum is anticipated to increase user exposure to the artifacts and increase the (virtual) accessibility of the artifacts without damage. The virtual museum also allows for searchable electronic records.

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How to Cite
Hébert, P. R., Chandrasekera, T., & Clare, G. (2020). Displaying a University’s Frank Lloyd Wright Artifact Reproductions: Physical and Virtual Environments. Journal of Building Energy & Environment, 3(1), 1–15. Retrieved from https://ph03.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/bee/article/view/30
Research article


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