Is it possible to teach architectural documentation techniques without being in contact with the artefact? This was the challenge when, in February 2020, at the beginning of an Architectural Survey and Representation Techniques course, the pandemic forced lecturers and students to work from their own homes. The course was structured to provide the students with an effective methodology able to make the scholars aware of architectural documentation techniques through a learning by doing process using as subject of investigation their own houses and online materials. After a first phase of identification of possible mitigation actions to fill the gap of on-line teaching in a discipline that needs a strong contact with the architectural space, the education staff conceived a teaching methodology based on a digital architectural space, a point cloud of Palazzo del Merenda, an historical building located in Forlì city center, in Italy. In this way by the exploration of the point cloud the students became familiar with a more complex architecture, simulating a direct survey and then describing spaces, decoration features, and developing spatial analyses. The analysis of the point cloud, using the open-source software CloudCompare, allowed the students to investigate and examine the Palazzo del Merenda’s spatial and formal survey’s complexity. The segmentation of the point cloud and the subsequent reconstitution in AutoCAD allowed the students to know, verify and control the logical process from the acquisition to the elaboration of 3d data, understanding the spatial/architectural relationships and achieving the final documentation goal by technical drawings.
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