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U.Va. team creates video tour of historic British landmark

London’s Vanished Crystal Palace Is Brought Back To Life For Special Exhibit At The Museum Of London

December 20, 2001-- One of London’s most remarkable architectural landmarks, the Crystal Palace, built to house the vast international Great Exhibition of 1851, was destroyed by fire less than a century after it opened.

Thanks to painstaking efforts by a group of University of Virginia media designers and scholars, Londoners and visitors to the city will once again be able to experience something of the spectacular design and wondrous proportions of the original Crystal Palace, an intricate network of iron rods and walls of clear glass that covered some 18 acres.

A complex computer model of the Crystal Palace that enables visitors to take a video tour of the vanished landmark is on display at the Museum of London’s new World City Galleries exhibit that opened this month to take an innovative look at the birth of modern London. A version of the three-minute animation is on the World Wide Web at

http://www.iath.virginia.edu/london/model/animation.html

The model is the work of Chris Jessee, a designer with U.Va.’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), and Will Rourke of U.Va.’s Robertson Media Center. Their animation accompanies a large physical model of the building in the museum’s World City Galleries.

"A goal of the project was to impress upon the viewer the massive scale of the building and the character of the structure and space," said Jessee, who worked with Rourke using paper documentation and photos of the vast glass structure to create a realistic model.

The construction of the Crystal Palace model has also been part of an IATH international scholarly project, "Monuments and Dust," directed by English professor Michael Levenson, to document early London life electronically through numerous resources.

"Since this is the 150th anniversary of the Great Exhibition, it is a timely moment to recover the spectacle of a groundbreaking building," Levenson said.

Contact: Bob Brickhouse, (434) 924-6856

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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