Javier ORDOÑO |Iker ORDOÑO | Arantxa SATRÚSTEGUi | Gonzalo ÁLAVA
(Arkikus: a Window to the Past (www.arkikus.com), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain)

Keywords: Mobile app, Heritage Virtual Reconstruction, Monastery, Middle Ages, Spain

“Arkikus – Santa Catalina de Badaia Monastery: a Virtual Reconstruction” is a brand-new mobile app aimed at bringing to the public the historical site of Santa Catalina de Badaia, located in Iruña de Oca (Basque Country, Spain), through the use of new technologies.
To this end, a range of up-to-date techniques such as drone-based photogrammetry, HQ 3D modelling and rendering, and 360º VR imaging, together with a detailed archaeological and written documentation, have been integrated to virtually reconstruct the architectural and past living spaces of the site over time, seeking the finest possible historical accuracy and educative value.
The site held a Late Medieval aristocratic tower-house that became firstly a Hieronymite, and then an Augustine enclosed monastery during the 15th century AD. The monastic complex remained in use until being seized by the Spanish Government in the mid 19th century. Today, it hosts a renowned Botanical Garden that stands out because of its fine landscaping and intrinsic heritage value.
The app is the first heritage VR tool developed in northern Iberia and provides the opportunity to make this site reach the broad audience in different ways:
as a highly-visual tool that allows the users to immerse in the spaces and biography of the monastery both in situ or at home, which may be especially helpful for impaired people,
as an audio-guide that permits the public to know the history and main details of the site, especially thought for blind and partially sighted people, and
as a document that can be brought by the users themselves in their personal devices, avoiding the need for less-sustainable leaflets and books.
The app takes advantage of current developments and trends in heritage curation and is expected to be adapted to other European historical sites in the future.