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.