(Image: Manchester Evening News Archive)
Architecture experts aim to recreate old buildings on their original sites in ground breaking project. It may sound like science fiction, but some of Manchester’s lost landmark buildings could soon be brought back to life in virtual reality
Computer and architecture experts aim to create 3D virtual buildings on their original sites – allowing people to walk through rooms and even hear stories hidden in the walls.
The groundbreaking project could eventually see ravers revisiting the Hacienda dancefloor or history buffs standing in the dock at the old Assize Courts on Bury New Road - regarded in some circles as one of Britain’s great lost buildings.
Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University, working with architecture project The Modernist Society and Manchester Central Reference Library, are looking to recreate former buildings using the latest technology.
The first building set to be given the VR treatment is the Jackson’s Row synagogue, which is earmarked for demolition under Gary Neville’s huge redevelopment of the area.
Its dimensions are to be measured and logged using laser scanners and specialist architecture software programmes, before it is ‘rebuilt’ in virtual reality.
Jack Hale, from the Manchester-based architecture Modernist Society, said: “Sometimes buildings are demolished and elements that have touched the lives of its inhabitants are lost - the furniture, the pictures, the decor and the memories of the people who worked, celebrated or worshipped there.
“With this project we hope not to carry out just a building survey, but to capture and incorporate part of the spirit and the life of some of the people who have passed through its rooms.”
Richard Brook, principal lecturer at Manchester School of Architecture, said: “A 3D virtual model could contain surviving architectural drawings of the buildings, digitised from archive sources – a viewer could walk at a scale of 1:1 through the architectural drawings, look at still images embedded within the model and listen to oral histories literally within its walls.
“A building that becomes more than the sum of its parts and has more to impart than it ever did when it was ‘alive’.”
The project scheduled to run until the summer before a public launch at Manchester Central Reference Library.