From November 23 to 30, an exhibition themed "Discovering the architectural heritage of the One Pillar – Dien Huu Pagoda from the Ly Dynasty through VR technology" will take at Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, No. 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hanoi.

The VR3D Dien Huu pagoda project helps viewers go back 800 years to walk in the space of royal pagoda in Ly Dynasty. The main product of the project – the virtual reconstruction of Dien Huu Monastery Platform and its One Pillar Structure in 1105 – helps the Vietnamese generations of the 21st century experience the feudal beauty with VR and AR technology.

Accordingly, organisers will display ancient photos of the One Pillar Pagoda architecture taken by the French during the Nguyen Dynasty, pictures of the collapsed pagoda in 1954, photos of the restored pagoda in 1955 by architect Nguyen Ba Lang, and photos of other national treasures from the Ly Dynasty excavated at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel.

Dien Huu Buddhist Temple and its One Pillar Pagoda were built in 1049 and significantly restored in 1105 under the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong. It is a unique religious architecture of the Ly Dynasty (1009-1225), and a symbol of the thousand-year cultural history of Thang Long – Hanoi.

An overview of the One Pillar Pagoda 800 years ago reconstructed by virtual reality technology.

The current One Pillar Pagoda is a restoration made in 1955 by architect Nguyen Ba Lang after the pagoda was destroyed by bombing on November 9, 1954.

Drawing visual and historical data from the ruins and other archaeological artifacts excavated at Thang Long Citadel, organisers have presented a virtual reconstruction of the mandala platform of the Dien Huu Buddhist Monastery as it was in 1105 and an architectural morphology of the One Pillar Pagoda with the hexagonal lotus sanctuary on top of the stone pillar.

Although this is only “virtual reality”, the architectural morphology and proportion have been calculated from all available historical data during a 10-year research period.

The project aims to propose different methods of reconstruction, and various hypotheses to preserve, study, educate, and promote the quintessential values of Vietnamese culture from the Ly Dynasty right up to today’s society.