Summary

When historical monuments are destroyed by humans and nature our work gathered thousands of people, from all over the world, to rebuild them digitally at the first worldwide crowd-sourced online museum, by Unesco. To celebrate it, we threw a big exhibition at the MAD museum, in the heart of NYC.

Reclaiming History

Over time, historical sites and monuments all over the world have been destroyed due to conflict and natural disasters. In many communities, the destruction of these sites means more than just a loss of physical presence since they often represent a community’s culture and heritage. 

Ancient historic landmarks like Palmyra’s Temple of Baalshamin in Syria and Nepal’s 5th century Buddhist and Hindu temples have fallen victim to natural disasters and vandalism. But we partnered with UNESCO and Rekrei to rebuild these destroyed sites for the generations to come.

While the physical restoration of these ancient monuments is impossible, the partners’ new project, Reclaim History, aims to digitally recreate them in the first worldwide crowd-sourced online museum, using a combination of photogrammetry, virtual reality and 3D printing technologies. The site is "the central hub where people can go visit and learn more about the monuments that have been digitally recreated. The site is also a place for anyone to come together and help recreate more monuments.

We launched the project with an exhibition of the project's first digitally rebuilt monuments at the Museum of Arts & Design of NY, where we brought back artifacts to the real world with 3D printing.

In many cases, physical restorations are impossible due to the extent of the destruction, but through crowdsourcing the digital preservation of the memory of that heritage, not only does it provide a way for the public to engage with lost heritage, but also to have an active, tangible role in preserving it.

Website

The structure:

The detail view consisted of a designated page, where users can read literature or watch videos to expand their knowledge.

 We structured the experience around three specific levels (Discovery, Details, Action). This created an in and out mental model that was easy to understand for users. They start at the widest view, the globe view, and continually zoom in to discover more specific details.. 

 Within each page there is an opportunity to contribute to the information shown, similar to a wiki page, continuing the concept of creating a crowdsourced database.

Interaction animations were created in After Effects to help guide the front end development of the experience. This helped communicate the tone and expectation from an interactive perspective. A loading animation helped buy some time in the backend for the WebGL to fully load. So We provided a quick SVG driven animation in Codepen, that was implemented the same day.

Website demo

Exhibition at the Museum of Arts & Design - NYC