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    Virtual Resurrections

    by Gisela Brunner

    A camera moves slowly and smoothly through the portal of the synagogue in Berlin's Fasanenstrasse. It points up into the vaulted ceiling, revealing three domes. But there is no film crew here and, indeed, no actual synagogue.

    Along with about 1,400 other Jewish religious buildings in Germany, the Berlin synagogue was destroyed by Nazi gangs during "Kristallnacht" ("Night of Broken Glass") on November 9, 1938. Now this synagogue and 13 others have been reconstructed "virtually" through computer modeling and animation by architecture students at the Technical University in Darmstadt.

    Leading the effort of the digital 3D reconstruction is Manfred Koob, professor of architecture at Darmstadt. He has been attracting attention for such work since the early 1990s and has nearly 90 buildings of historical significance in his electronic archive. The idea for the synagogue project came from Koob's assistant, Marc Grellert.

    Their work has been aided in recent years by high-performance hardware and software including the 3D animation and visual effects capabilities of Maya software from Alias. The students have been able to achieve such realism in the lighting and surface representations that the animations are almost like film footage of the original buildings.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    Synagogue Hannover was one of 14 synagogues digitally reconstructed by architecture students at the Technical University in Darmstadt.
    Image: Darmstadt University of Technology

    ArchWeek Image

    Synagogue Hannover, Bergstrasse, built in 1870, destroyed in 1938.
    Photo: Darmstadt University of Technology

     

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