South Korea restores historic gate with augmented and virtual reality to promote lost cultural assets

There is also a miniature model of Donuimun, and other visual materials to illustrate how the gate was rebuilt.

The Donuimun Gate of the Joseon dynasty in South Korea, which was destroyed in 1915, has been restored through the use of augmented and virtual reality.

While the government has made plans to rebuild the gate, there has still been no progress due to the vast expense and concerns over traffic disturbance as a road junction now stands in place of the gate.

Now, the Cultural Heritage Administration, Seoul Metropolitan Government, and Woomi Construction, together with Cheil Worldwide, is using AR to allow people to experience the digitally restored gate using a mobile app, which displays the monument in different lights based on different times of the day.

They hope this will raise awareness of some of South Korea’s lost cultural assets and promote the country's heritage.

An experience centre has also been built to offer visitors a VR experience of the gate in its original glory. Visitors can hear historical tales of Donuimun, told through a VR journey that takes them through the Joseon Dynasty era, starting in front of the gate, moving inside the gatehouse and finishing with a bird’s eye view of the city around the gate.

There is also a miniature model of Donuimun, and other visual materials to illustrate how the gate was rebuilt.

In addition, a kiosk has been placed near the site, where visitors can enjoy a life-sized, 3D virtual model of the missing gate, as well as finding out about its history and, the process of digital restoration.

Cheil worked with academic specialising in architecture and traditional decorative coloring, as well as visual effects experts, to sort through a vast amount of research and historical documentation, including more than a million data points and 3,500 studies for nine months.

“We hope that by bringing Donuimun back to life through digital technology we can raise awareness of some of Korea’s lost cultural assets,” said Jong-chul Jang, account director at Cheil Worldwide.

“Cheil will continue to develop experiential content that connects Korea’s cultural property and cutting-edge technology, based on our shared values and our digital technology capabilities. The Donuimun project is just the beginning for us.”

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