Trajan Project

The Mercati di Traiano Museo dei Froi Imperiali, also known as the Trajan Markets and Imperial Fora museum commissioned a team from Duke University for the Trajan Puzzle Project.  It is an international exhibit commemorating the 1900th death day anniversary of the Emperor Trajan.


Located in the heart of Rome at the Imperial Fora, steps from the Colosseum, this project aimed to build a multi-tiered immersive exhibit focusing on the Basilica Ulpia, the largest of the ancient Basilica.

I wore many hats for this project including research, concept, design, and even digital sculpture of many fragments from the Basilica.

The main concept is a contextualization of historical artifacts via a legionnaire’s path. My goal was to lead patrons from massive to intimate through various ancient passage ways of the part ancient part medieval museum. The idea was to first acclimate them to the location within Rome and the Imperial Fora.

 Next, was the step of approximating the scale of the Basilica itself. My teammate Dr. Nevio Danelon created a digital simulation of the Basilica Ulpia.

We proceeded to scale down and iterate copies. One, tangible, to offer visitors the opportunity to touch and cut away into a scale model.

Another, holographic, to contextualize the various friezes from which many of the fragments within the museum were found.

Among the many hats I wore included the digital sculpting of “simulated recreations” for many of the said fragments.

The final centerpiece of the legionnaires journey culminates on a full room anamorphic installation where visitors are immersed in a jungle of 3D printed replicas of existing fragments in the weapon’s frieze of the front facade.

Visitors enter the room to be lead by sound and footprints through this forest, encouraged to touch and fully engage with each 3D printed fragment until they reach a final destination.

That offers a re-contextualization of the said fragments in a scholar’s reconstructed Weapon’s Frieze.