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    Virtual Weissenhofsiedlung

    by ArchitectureWeek

    In the 1920s, 17 European practitioners of the emerging modern architecture were invited to contribute designs to a collection of houses that came to be known as Weissenhofsiedlung. The future luminaries included, among others, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius.

    Originally conceived as an exhibition to allow the early 20th century modernists to build their personal solutions to the "questions of housing facing modern city dwellers," the collection of houses initially met with harsh criticism. Then it was partly destroyed by Allied bombing in 1944. Today, the surviving village, containing 11 of the original 21 houses, is considered one of the world's most important monuments to modern architecture.

    Houses by Mies van der Rohe, Mart Stam, Peter Behrens, Hans Scharoun, Josef Frank, Le Corbusier with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, Victor Bourgeois, Adolf G. Schneck, and Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud have survived. Those of Gropius, Richard Döcker, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Hans Poelzig, Adolf Rading, and Max and Bruno Taut no longer exist.

    To celebrate the site's 75th anniversary, the international computer company IBM and the City of Stuttgart, Germany have worked together to build a computer model of the village as it originally stood in 1927. They have sponsored the creation of a virtual tour through time and space.

    The village was modeled with IBM's CATIA 3D engineering design software and then animated to give viewers a "stroll-through" view of the village. The virtual housing development, "Weissenhof Digital," is embedded in an interactive information system covering all aspects of the 1927 German Werkbund exhibition "Die Wohnung" (The Dwelling) of which the Weissenhofsiedlung was a part.

    "Through the Weissenhof Digital project, IBM and the City of Stuttgart are contributing to the preservation of the this unique housing development," said Jörg Peters, director of marketing of IBM Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The walkthrough makes the historic architectural site accessible to a wider public than the original architects probably ever imagined.

    The virtual tour is available on the Web in both RealVideo and MPEG formats. A close-up tour of "Haus Le Corbusier" is also available. The actual house, currently being renovated, will serve as an architectural documentation center of modernism when it opens to the public in 2004.

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...


     

     

    ArchWeek Image

    Houses by Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud, detail of the entrance area.
    Photo: © mausner & apel Büro für Gestaltung und Marketing, Stuttgart

    ArchWeek Image

    Houses by Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud, view of the facade.
    Photo: © mausner & apel Büro für Gestaltung und Marketing, Stuttgart

    AW

    ArchWeek Image

    A house (1927) in Weissenhofsiedlung, Germany, designed by Hans Scharoun, as seen from the north.
    Photo: © mausner & apel Büro für Gestaltung und Marketing, Stuttgart

    ArchWeek Image

    A QuickTime™ movie of the village of Weissenhof, digitally recreated by IBM and the City of Stuttgart. (4.2MB)
    Image: Courtesy of International Business Machines Corporation. Unauthorized use not permitted.

    ArchWeek Image

    House by Hans Scharoun, as depicted in the animation created by IBM and the City of Stuttgart.
    Image: Courtesy of International Business Machines Corporation. Unauthorized use not permitted.

    ArchWeek Image

    House in Weissenhofsiedlung by Peter Behrens.
    Photo: © mausner & apel Büro für Gestaltung und Marketing, Stuttgart

    ArchWeek Image

    House by Josef Frank.
    Photo: © mausner & apel Büro für Gestaltung und Marketing, Stuttgart

    ArchWeek Image

    Apartments by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, as seen from the east.
    Photo: © mausner & apel Büro für Gestaltung und Marketing, Stuttgart

    ArchWeek Image

    Apartments by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, detail of the facade.
    Photo: © mausner & apel Büro für Gestaltung und Marketing, Stuttgart

     

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