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Rund um den Domshof in Bremen

Medium: CD ROM
Year: 2000
Client: Hochschule für
Künste Bremen
Team: Prof. Jörg Kirschenmann, Kristjan Kristjansson, Christiane Matthäi, Boris Müller,
Nuri Ovüc [Coinn], Jussi Steudle

The aim of our project was to simulate the cultural and architectural change of the largest square in Bremen, north Germany. We focused on the urban developments and historical events of the last 250 years. The simulation is based on original documents. Instead of telling a linear story of the entire square, every house tells its own story.

The Domshof (»yard of the cathedral«) is one of Bremens oldest and most prominent squares. The activities around the Domshof have always represented the general atmosphere of the city. In the last 250 years it has changed from an episcopal to a bank place. This transformation corresponds with the architectural development of the square. One of our main interests was to visualise the appearance of the square at a certain period. We simply asked ourselves: »How did this square look like in 1750 or in 1800?« To create a consistant view of the Domshof, we used original documents like etchings, paintings or photographs and associated them with a time period. Then we used these documents to create several panoramas that simulate the appearance of the Domshof in the years 1750, 1800, 1850, 1900, 1950 and 2000. These panoramas show the actual state of the Domshof at a certain period. Instead of looking at isolated images, the user has the chance to see the entire setting of the Domshof at a certain year. To realise this, we used the Quicktime VR technology.

{Conceptual model of the relationship between panorama and timeline.}

Every building in this panorama is also a »hotspot«. To get more information about a specific building, the user can simply click on it. This creates a new way of looking at information. After reading about the history of a specific building, the user can decide, if she / he wants to read more about the house next door, or about another prominent building in the panorama. Another way of navigating through the information is using a timeline. Every building has also an invisible timeline attached to it. By clicking on a specific period, it is possible to see the change over time. So a user can start at 1750 and move to 2000 while observing the architectural changes in the panorama. Compared to a book, this implies a different way of storytelling. Instead of following a linear argument, the user can start anywhere and follow her or his own line of thought. The interface allows the user to keep the specific information about a building on the screen. So over time it is possible to build up stacks of data that allow the user to compare information about several buildings.

{This panorama view gives an impression of how the Domshof looked at about 1950.}

A special feature of this project is the idea to represent time and space simultaneously. There is not a separate panorama for every single era. Instead, there is only one, long panorama, starting 1750, ending 2000. So it is possible to get a continuous movement through the architectural changes of the Domshof.

{The Domshof at about 1800.}

The project »Rund um den Domshof in Bremen« won the first prize in the »Students Category« of the EuroPrix 2000.