The Past is Present: Virtuality, Archaeology, and the Future of History

Join Professor Christophe Girot’s (ETH Zurich) talk at UC Berkeley’s Center for New Media.

Event Details


UC Berkeley, Banatao Auditorium, 3rd floor of Sutardja Dai Hall
Berkeley, California 94720 United States


April 05, 2018 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-07:00)


With rapid advances in modern documentation and interpretive technologies such as scanning, visualization, and Virtual and Augmented Reality, how must our study of the past and its material legacy adapt?

The Past is Present is an interdisciplinary event bringing together scholars, students, technology innovators, and cultural heritage workers in conversation about new methods and tools which are shaping their work.

Over the course of three days (April 4-6), the Berkeley Center for New Media will provide a venue for an international group to explore critical issues of new technologies. On April 4th, we will begin the program with an opening reception for a VR exhibition around art, archaeology, and architecture.

The symposium on April 5th will feature scholarly presentations on topics such as Documenting Archaeology and Architecture; Accessing history through Drawings, Plans, Casts, and Copies; and Academic, Public, and Pedagogical Priorities for the 21st Century. Participants will also grapple with these issues through hands-on demos and workshops alongside professionals in the tech industry on the last day of the event.


Christophe Girot is Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at the Architecture Department of the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich since 2001. He has directed the Institute of Landscape Architecture there from 2005 to 2014. His research addresses three topics: Topological methods in landscape architecture, New media in landscape analysis and perception, A history and theory of landscape architecture.

Emphasis at the Chair has been given to large scale landscape design and modelling with particular attention to the topology of natural systems in cities. The recently founded LVML (landscape visualising and modelling laboratory) of the ETH funded since 2009 by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and co-directed with ETH Planning Professor Dr. Adrienne Grêt- Regamey has enabled significant advances in applied ecological design and point cloud modelling.

This has enabled to Chair of Christophe Girot to direct a CTI project from 2012-2014 with ETH Professor Marc Pollefeys at the Department of Computer Imaging together with the Leica /Hexagon company entitled 4D sites. The Gotthard Project developed as a point cloud model by Christophe Girot in collaboration with Professors Burkhalter and Sumi of the Academy in Mendrisio was exhibited as a collateral event at the 2014 Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Christophe Girot holds a practice in Zürich with projects both in Europe and in Asia. The Sigirino Mound project for the Alp Transit Company in Ticino as well as the Brissago Garden project in Ticino with SAM architects test the current limits of topological design and modelling in extreme alpine situations. The Sigirino Project was also exhibited at the 2014 Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam.

Other large scale projects such as the Basel 3Land Masterplan together with the office LIN, and the Montplaisir Estate project in Lodève with KCAP have been completed. Christophe Girot has published extensively in key reference books and contributed significant articles to the field of landscape architecture. The Book entitled “The Course of Landscape Architecture” published by Thames & Hudson in English, Ullmer in French and Detail in German has come out in 2016. Christophe Girot was awarded the ETH Golden Owl (Goldene Eule) award for teaching excellence in 2016.


Image credit: Professor Christophe Girot, Chair of Landscape Architecture, ETH Zurich