• Document: VIRTUAL RECONSTRUCTION OF SYNAGOGUES IN LODZ
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Bob Martens Herbert Peter Technische Universität Wien VIRTUAL RECONSTRUCTION OF SYNAGOGUES IN LODZ Introduction In 1998, the virtual reconstruction of the synagogue in Neudeggergasse in Vienna repre- sented the groundbreaking step for a project that turned out to be much more comprehensive than expected. The (interim) results have been published at several conferences1. It has al- ready been reported, how the modelling procedures were set out and what the situation was concerning the available data stemming from building plans and photographically recorded information. Whereas the buildings themselves were destroyed, it is remarkable to note that the approved building plans are still archived. Though photography already existed during the erection of the buildings, the information depicted on photographs only covers a part of the building in most cases. Especially (detailed) interior views are often missing as well as comprehensive information on colours and materials used. In such cases, the gap of information is closed by a plausible interpretation, which also reflects the possibilities of building construction around 1900. The synagogues were in existence for some decades as physical structures. Although the building itself is not “alive”, bits and pieces can be assembled to enhance the level of plausibility. The final outcome (renderings, animations, panoramic representations, rapid prototyped models etc.) makes it possible to form a mental picture of the building structures. The same or similar working procedures are also used to explore unbuilt architecture2 or buildings which are not open to the public any more3. 1 B. Martens, H. Peter, Developing Systematics Regarding Virtual Reconstruction of Synagogues, [in:] Thresholds - Design, Research, Education and Practice, in the Space Between the Physical and the Virtual [Proceedings of ACADIA 2002 Conference Pomona 2002, pp. 349-356; B. Martens, M. Stellingwerff, Creating Physical Models Using Virtual Reconstructions: Mixed CAM-techniques for a Viennese Synagogue Scale-model, [in:] SiGraDi 2005 Conference Pro- ceedings, Lima 2005, pp. 108-113; B. Martens, H. Peter, Potemkin Village, reloaded - Visualisation of Destroyed Synagogues within the Cityscape of Vienna, [in:] Projecting Spaces - Conference on architectural visualisation [9th international EAEA conference 2009]”, D. Lengyel, C. Toulouse (ed.), Dresden 201153-58. 2 B.J. Novitski, Rendering Real and Imagined Buildings: The Art of Computer Modeling from the Palace of Kublai Khan to Le Corbusier’s Villas, Seattle, 1999, pp. 34-39. 3 T. Maver and J. Petric, Virtual Heritage: Is There a Future for the Past?, [in:] SiGraDi 1999 Conference Proceedings, — 181 — The 3D-models display a high level of detail, thus making it possible to create interesting physical models (completely or in parts) by means of rapid prototyping. As these fabrications can be delivered in multiple ways, they can be distributed to, e.g., museums and other interested institutions. The modelling activities are not to be regarded as an aim in itself, but as a first step towards the creation of (physical) “output”4. Section cuts, for instance, make it possible to visu- alize the connection between the exterior and the interior in a non-destructive way. 70 years after the pogrom nights, a paperback city guide was published in German (2009; English version: 2011)5 to encourage readers to visit the more than 20 reconstructed sites. Three-dimensional documentation rebuilds the architectural spectrum of the no-lon- ger-existing heritage in the City of Vienna. It is painful, however, to acknowledge the cul- tural values that have been lost. The idea of a city guide relates to a touristic activity, i.e. the reader would (virtually) visit a certain location and be served with a certain amount of information. The intention is not to cater solely to “handpicked architecture aficionados”, but to attract a wider audience. There are only very few inhabitants left who might have experienced the local situation with the synagogues still in place. The only thing current inhabitants get to see is a “memo- rial plaque” – if any – on the facade of the successional building. In other words: visit the location with the city guide in your hands and trace back a piece of building history. What did it look like – form your own visuals – and how would it look like, if the building were still present in the current state of building within the given context. It has to be noted that even if a full physical reconstruction of the synagogue itself could be realized on exactly the

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