Workshop on Virtual Palaces

On behalf of the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation, University of Leuven, you are cordially invited to the Workshop on Virtual Palaces (Part I.  Digitizing and Modelling Palaces) on November 18 and 19, 2011 organized by the ESF Research Networking Programme PALATIUM and Co-Organized by Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation, University of Leuven. There are grants available for European researchers, for more information, visit the website at:

This workshop is part of the ESF Research Networking Programme PALATIUM: Court Residences as Places of Exchange in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1400–1700). The PALATIUM programme aims at creating a common forum for research on the late medieval and early modern European court residence or “palace” (palatium) with an interdisciplinary perspective. The world of the courts 1400–1700 constituted a network of truly European scale and international character, but its architecture is only rarely studied in its “connectivity”. Here the “palace” is seen as a place for cultural exchange. Human interaction in this space is regulated and codified by a set of rules, known as “ceremonial”. The interaction between palace architecture (tangible) and ceremonial (intangible, but known through a set of tangible testimonials of different types, written and visual) is one of the key questions the PALATIUM network aims to address.
The palace’s space and form carry multiple connotations. To the informed observer they represent power, lineage, and tradition versus innovation. The decoding of this system of signs necessitates input not only by architectural and art historians, but also by various other disciplines, such as archaeology, politics, literature, theatre and music. The PALATIUM programme wants to encourage theoretical and methodological debates in the field, and aims in particular at stimulating exchanges of knowledge and experience between historians, architectural historians, art historians, and researchers in related disciplines – thus building up a network of scholars, institutions and research groups across Europe which mirrors the international network of courts that is being examined.

Virtual Palaces
Virtual Palaces is the central theme of two consecutive PALATIUM workshops held in Leuven (Belgium) and Munich (Germany):
• Part I, Digitizing and Modelling Palaces (Leuven, 18-19 November 2011) will focus on the digital recording and virtual modelling of historic buildings in their actual state, and the related methodological problems.
• Part II, Lost Palaces and their Afterlife. Virtual Reconstruction between Science and Media (Munich, 13-15 April 2012) will focus on virtual reconstructions of “lost” buildings and their role in research on court residences.

Both workshops belong to section WPM3 of the PALATIUM programme: “Reconstructing the Palace as Virtual Heritage”. For further information on the various topics and working parties of PALATIUM, see
The aims of the Leuven workshop
The rapid rise in new digital technologies has revolutionized the ways of recording, digitizing and virtualizing historic buildings such as court residences. These opportunities also give rise to new conflicts and challenges, especially in guaranteeing the scientific correctness, reliability, and verifiability of the information that is used to make digital models. Digital models of buildings have proven their usefulness, not only for presenting research in the field to the larger community, but also as genuine research tools that help visualize and clarify research results  (e.g. construction phases, ceremonial use of spaces).

This workshop will provide a platform for scholars to present and discuss different approaches and case studies in the effective use of digital tools and methods in making virtual models of existing palaces. Although many digital tools are to a certain extent similar for all types of historic buildings, we are especially looking for contributions addressing issues that are typical of palatial architecture.

The workshop will be preceded by a practical seminar on digital recording methods organized in the Castle of Arenberg by the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation; the results of ten years of ongoing work on the Castle and its sources will be presented at the start of the workshop. This former court residence once belonged to the dukes of Croÿ, who rose to prominence in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, especially under the Emperor Charles V and Philip II of Spain.

The focus of the Leuven workshop lies on the recording and modelling of the actual state of extant buildings. The possibilities and limitations of virtual reconstructions of “lost” palaces (or of the “lost” state of still existing palaces) will be the subject of the second workshop, held in Munich.

How to Apply?
Abstracts are invited by 30 September 2011. All abstracts must be in English and should be limited to 300 words. Head your abstract with your name, professional affiliation, and the paper’s title. Submit with the abstract a one-page curriculum vitae, home and work addresses, and e-mail address.

Submit your proposal by e-mail to the three conference chairs, Professor Krista De Jonge (, Dr. Pieter Martens (, and Professor Mario Santana Quintero  (

Abstracts should define the subject and summarize the argument to be presented in the proposed paper. Each paper should be limited to a 20 minute presentation, followed by dialogue and questions. All abstracts will be held in confidence during the selection process. Only one submission per author will be accepted. All applicants will be notified of the acceptance or rejection of their proposal by 10 October 2011.
Grants for Young Scholars
PALATIUM offers travel grants to junior researchers who want to participate in this colloquium and briefly present their work in progress. The number of available grants is limited. The deadline for grant applications is 30 September 2011. All grant applications must be made online. See the PALATIUM website for more information (
Conference Chairs:     
Krista De Jonge (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), PALATIUM Chair
Pieter Martens (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), PALATIUM Coordinator
Mario Santana Quintero (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
Scientific Committee:
Alonzo C. Addison (UNESCO World Heritage Centre)
Stefan Breitling (Bauforschung und Baugeschichte, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg)
Ana Almagro Vidal (Programa de Conservación del Patrimonio Histórico Español de la Fundación Caja Madrid, Spain)
Bill Blake (ICOMOS UK)
Stephan Hoppe (Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Rand Eppich (Tecnalia Research & Innovation, Spain)
Coordination & Contact:
Krista De Jonge (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), PALATIUM Chair
Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Planning
Kasteelpark Arenberg 1
B-3001 Leuven (Heverlee)
Castle of Arenberg
Kasteelpark Arenberg 1
B-3001 Leuven (Heverlee)