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Real or Virtual: Chartres Cathedral, France. Built 1194-1260

Work / Architecture

Woah! Columbia University’ 3D architectural panoramas will blow your mind

This is properly amazing. I was introduced to it when I started studying history of art and architecture, and was a tad daunted about all the incredible places I had yet to visit. But thanks to this wonderful resource, developed by Columbia University in 2000 and expanding ever since, I got to hop around the world and the ages taking in a feast pf extraordinary sights.

It proved invaluable – not just for procrastinatory wanderings, but for last-minute comparisons between naves and arcades when I didn’t have the time or the money to dash off to France and find out. Basically, just go onto the site , select whatever architectural period you wish, and enter into one of many three-dimensional panoramas readily available. You can look across the floor and raise your eyes (cursor) to the dizzying heights above, learning about how the buildings fit together.

The range of projects is astounding, taking you from Ancient Rome and Istanbul to 20th Century Pennsylvania, and the site pulls out all the stops, providing interactive plans and documents and these wondrous visuals that ensure you can appreciate the engineering marvels and design achievements of historical buildings in all their glory. Ever wondered what type of cushions are in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater ? Or about the bathroom in Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoie ? Well, go on in and find out!

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Real or Virtual: Nurosmaniye Camii, Istanbul (Ottoman Period). Interior view, 1748, Istanbul

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Real or Virtual: Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret), Villa Savoie. Built 1928-31.

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Real or Virtual: Santa Maria Novella, Florence. Built 1278-1350

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Real or Virtual: Fethiye Camii (Church of Pammakaristos). Built ca. 1100

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Real or Virtual: Domus Aurea (Golden House of Nero) Built after 64 CE

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Real or Virtual: King’s College Chapel. Completed 1547