RS/6000 Workstations and CATIA CAD Restore Dresden Church

July 4, 1996

  Somers, N.Y. -- In the far eastern corner of Germany, nestled in the
borders of Poland and the Czech Republic, lies the city of Dresden. Adorned
with buildings of Baroque and Rococo influences, Dresden was once home to die
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). Considered one of the most treasured of
Europe's architectural landmarks, it was destroyed during Allied Forces'
bombing raids in World War II and has remained a pile of rubble in the city
center. However, with the help of IBM technology, this centuries-old
cathedral has risen again in virtual reality in preparation for its complete
and real restoration over the next few years.

  Die Frauenkirche was completed in 1743 and served as the most significant
structure of German Protestantism. Also included in die Frauenkirche's rich
history are performances from Johann Sebastian Bach and Richard Wagner. But
in February 1944, the Allied bombing of Dresden changed the city and the
church's architectural makeup forever. The bombing of Dresden left most
of the city's buildings in ruins, including die Frauenkirche. According to
officials from the Society to Promote the Reconstruction of die Frauenkirche,
this was one of the worst architectural losses of the Second World War.

  Many years have passed since the bombing and more than one plan for
rebuilding die Frauenkirche has been proposed only to fall by the wayside.
This part of Germany was once a satellite nation of the former Soviet Union,
and therefore the reconstruction never garnered enough political or economic
support to make any progress. But with the fall of communism in 1989, the
restoration of die Frauenkirche began in earnest. Plans have been further
expedited with the help of CATIA Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and
RS/6000 workstations and servers.

  CATIA is best known for its use in the design of Chrysler cars such as the
Viper, and Boeing aircraft such as the 777. The software is now playing a
central role in construction planning in the architectural area with its
involvement in the Dresden project.

  Until quite recently all that remained of the church was a pile of rubble
and two sections of its walls. In 1990, Herbert Herz, manager of corporate
responsibility programs for IBM Germany, was contacted by an IBM customer and
advocate of the old church about using CATIA software as a tool for the
church's reconstruction. Herz offered the services of IBM for the project.
After a few meetings to discuss the reconstruction plan, the people of
Dresden accepted IBM's assistance.

  Designers involved with die Frauenkirche reconstruction have been able to
create a virtual prototype of the church within the CATIA CAD system running
on IBM's RS/6000 42T workstations. Using a combination of historical
photographs and comprehensive architectural drawings completed during a
survey of the church in the 1930s, reconstruction engineers and architects
have created a CAD model which recreates every detail of the church's
interior and exterior architecture.

  Using CATIA and other 3D visualization tools from IBM, designers and others
working on the reconstruction can tour a virtually reconstructed cathedral,
examine the exterior facades, walk down the center aisle of the church and
even stand in the raised pulpit and look up at the vaulted ceilings.

  Leveraging the power of virtual reality, project architects and engineers
have been able to identify and reuse 30 percent of the original stones for
rebuilding the church. The remains have been divided into three categories:
pieces for which location could be identified, stones which could be used
in different areas and pieces for which place could not be determined. When
replacement stones are needed, new sandstone is mined from the same quarry
that produced the stones used in the original church.

  The next step in dieFrauenkirche's reconstruction is rebuilding its vast
interiors. Eastern European Baroque interiors specialists are utilizing
photographs from the early 1900s and blueprints from a 1920s renovation with
CATIA in recreating the church to its original form in a computerized
environment.

  In addition to the CATIA software, IBM donated three IBM RS/6000
workstations running AIX, six personal computers with five to ten more
planned, and a project manager to oversee system operations. The workstations
are used for all architectural and technical applications related to the
project. They are configured in a networked environment with all CAD data
stored on a RS/6000 Model 560 server enabling architects to perform
collaborative work on one architectural 3D model.

  Multimedia kiosks are located at the church's construction site for the
public to visualize a completed and reconstructed dieFrauenkirche. The
display, entitled "Dresden and the Fraukenreiche," details the significant
role the church played in the history of the city, and was created to
encourage donations to help fund the reconstruction.

  IBM's role in the project will help augment the estimated $177 million
budget. The government of Germany and the state of Saxony have also made
significant contributions, but the majority of the funding has come from
private sources. Estimating the rate of private donations, the reconstruction
is expected to be complete by 2003.

  As architects continue to work in the virtual environment, engineers and
construction workers have begun real construction. Presently, construction is
underway to rebuild the cathedral's catacombs, utility rooms and the
foundation walls.


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