Nikolaos Vlavianos

PhD Candidate

Nikolaos Vlavianos is a PhD Candidate in Design and Computation at the MIT Architecture Department. His research focuses at the intersection of architecture, media theory, and cognitive science. In his PhD dissertation, Nikolaos employs state-of-the-art technology to 3D scan, visualize and simulate the monastery of Simonos Petra in Athos, Greece in XR. His research proposes/hypothesizes that human behavioral changes in space are measurable, and that the nature of these changes can be codified through self-reporting techniques and continuous measurement of psychological and physiological data in XR. Through his research, he has digitized large-scale sites around the world, led aerial 3D scanning operations in Machu Picchu, Peru; Miidera, Kyoto, Japan; Monticello, Virginia USA; Cappadocia, Turkey. Nikolaos holds an M.S. in Architecture Studies (SMArchS Computation) from MIT, an M.S. in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University, and a Bachelors in Architecture & Engineering from NTU, Athens.


MIT RA 22-23 | Ways of Seeing: Documenting Endangered Built Heritage in Afghanistan

Nikolaos is part of an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists, architects, conservationists, digital artists, journalists, and political scientists to document endangered heritage sites in Afghanistan. Nikolaos leads the digital transformation strategy of -- Ways of Seeing -- inventing a remote Cultural Heritage Virtual Experience (rCHVE) toolkit. By rigorously training Afghan locals on how to fly drones and perform detailed 3D scans, remote data collection becomes feasible simultaneously in different sites across the region. At MIT, he enables 3D reconstruction and image processing so that detailed 3D models with texture mapping will be produced for XR, VR, and AR applications. Ways of Seeing preserves the evidence of the heritage sites and provides learning resources for a range of global audiences, including Afghan refugee children currently displaced around the world. Ways of Seeing received the Mellon Foundation Faculty Grant in 2022