Scientific Visualisations of Urban Heritage as Identity Making Image Construction

    • Nice November 2018
    • Presentation speakers
      • Dominik Lengyel, Faculty of Architecture, BTU University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany
      • Catherine Toulouse, Faculty of Architecture, BTU University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany


    Identity relies to a large amount on history. So tangible and intangible cultural heritage provides a base of collective memory. The shape of urban space is something that requires a spatial experience whilst any way of depicting urban space demands a selective view. The history of photography is too young to include most of the history of urban change. An urban image construction can therefore not operate in a holistic way that connects today’s cities with its own history. Purely historic representations therefore act as distant sites of memorialisations. Anchoring a city’s history to today’s everyday life demands a consistent way of communication a city’s structure and continuity. Not as a theatrical scenery but as an intellectual structure with its own identity and meaning. In the context of scientifically visualizing hypotheses of archaeology and art history we have developed a method for visualizing urban transformations that focus on structural features enabling to get historic shapes with a minimum of fictional content. It consists of two complementary parts: virtual modeling and virtual photography. Contrasting the geometric abstraction of the model, strictly based on the verbal hypotheses, our way of depicting the scenery uses traditional methods of realistic architectural photography. Leaving out any staffage, the emphasis lies on the architectonic identity of cityscapes as symbolic order, demanding reflections by their spectators. The presentation aims to demonstrate and illustrate this method by several projects developed by the authors in cooperation with archaeological research institutions like Cologne Cathedral and its Predecessors (by order of and exhibited in Cologne Cathedral), The Metropolis of Pergamon (within the German Research Fund Excellence Cluster TOPOI, actually exhibited in Leipzig as part of Sharing Heritage, the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018), The Palatine Palaces (by order of the German Archaeological Institute, both latter exhibited in the Pergamon Museum Berlin).