3D CAPITALS: Citizens Co-Creating the City’s Digital Cultural Heritage


Project duration: 2018 - 2021 Date coverage: 1200 - 1300 Website Contact

Digital Cultural Heritage Archaeological or architectural heritage Crowdsourcing / Citizens’ science 3D / 4D modelling and reconstruction Photogrammetry

The citizens of Sant Cugat del Vallès, Catalonia, Spain, will co-create the digital 3D versions of the capitals of the Romanesque cloister of Sant Cugat, one of the jewels of the crown of our cultural heritage. By using photogrammetry methods learnt in the Library Living Lab, they will use their own mobile phones to capture photos. Then, they will join a team for the creation of the new models open source, and finally, they will contribute 3D printed versions. Our objective is to have a public engagement process to scan for and with the citizens the 145 capitals of the cloister.

This provides a new role for the citizen as generator of the novel (digital) cultural heritage: the citizen becomes the protagonist of the cultural action. In addition, it opens new opportunities for curation, business, but mostly to enjoy our fascinating history as Europeans, from the tangible and the intangible.

The 144 capitals of the cloister of the Monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès are one of the masterpieces of the Catalan Romanesque. They represent biblical scenes, vegetal motives, fantastic animals and delicate geometric figures.

The Library Living Lab users (@LibraryLivLab) together with the Computer Vision Centre (@CVC_UAB) and the Museum of Sant Cugat (@Museusstc) have developed a protocol for allowing the citizens scanning the capitals, in order to obtain the first ever catalog in 3D of the masterpieces.

  • This will allow both the web visualization of the 3D models and the creation of physical replicas.
  • This is an open science and innovation project, its results are within the reach of users, professionals and researchers, and it represents a step further towards the democratization of access to knowledge and innovation for all people.
  • All work obtained is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International License.


The capital scanning process is based on basic photogrammetry techniques. Anyone with a mobile phone can make several photos around an object, so that it is covered visually. This is one of the strengths of this project, as it allows it to be accessible to everyone.

• The first step is to make this set of photos, at least 20.
• Then, these photos must be processed by a specific software. There are several options, open and payment options (if the readers wants to know more how it has been possible to scan the capitals, we invite you toread the documentation available in the website)
• Once the 3D model has been generated, we can make a web like this – to enjoy digital models – or also make 3D impressions – like those we have in the Library Living Lab at the Biblioteca Miquel Batllori in the neighborhood of Volpelleres, Sant Cugat del Vallès.

Models printed in 3D allow an observation of the physical object, and the exhibition of all models allows a group perspective of the collection. Each capital has its own reference number and QR code associated to the web page where we can find the corresponding file. This allows us to link the physical object with the digital object.

Expected Results:

  • The digital version of the 144 capitals in one website (currently 22, open process until 8/2020).
  • On the other hand, the physical replicas of the cloisters printed in 3D.
  • As a general outcome, a project for citizens’ science and the capacitation of a community of citizens for the creation of the new digital assets of the city.

European Context and Community Impact:

The Library Living Lab is member of the European Network of Living Labs – ENoLL. Living labs are innovation arenas, in which all the stakeholders are organized in a citizen-centric approach. The Library Living Lab explores “how technology transforms the cultural experience of people”, and by doing that challenges the role of the libraries, and the role of the citizens in the libraries too, in the Europe of the Digital Transformation. Only by a joint collaboration of institutions that puts citizens in the center of actions Europe will provide a genuinely European approach to innovation. In other words, advancing towards the democratization of access to knowledge and innovation.

Project partners

Lead partners

Other partners

  • Ajuntament de Sant Cugat del Vallès

With financial support by