GRAPHISOFT Brings Historic Shanghai Buildings to Life with ArchiCAD and Virtual Building Explorer


Shanghai's Museum of Contemporary Art will be filled with the sights and sounds of Hungarian culture from August 23 to September 5, 2010. In addition to innovative exhibits highlighting Hungarian contributions to film, music, and design, the two-week exhibition will feature a virtual tour of three of Shanghai's most historically significant buildings. Visitors can explore in 3D virtual reality the Park Hotel, the Moore Memorial Church, and the D.V. Woo House, which were designed by László Hudec (1893-1958). Built in the 1930's, these Shanghai landmarks are just three of the 65 buildings designed by Hudec between 1918 when he arrived in China, and his departure in 1947.

Tongji University, College of Architecture and Urban Planning; Pujing Information Technology; GRAPHISOFT; and BMC have made it possible to 'visit' the Park Hotel, the Moore Memorial Church, and the D.V. Woo House, three of Hudec's most significant designs in Shanghai -- by creating the virtual building models of the real buildings with ArchiCAD and making them accessible to the public through GRAPHISOFT's innovative Virtual Building Explorer technology in an interactive 3D virtual reality presentation.

Trained in Budapest as a classical architect, a visit to the USA in 1927 shifted Hudec's vision from an eclectic, neo-Classical style first to Art Deco and then to Modernism. Hudec's transition to Art Deco is evident in the design of many of his buildings and captured the excitement, promise, and glamour of Shanghai's golden age of prosperity. Hudec was one of the most interesting and culturally astute architects of the early 20th century, bridging the gap between European architecture and Chinese culture. His commercial, residential, and religious designs are especially noteworthy given that many of the buildings he designed are still in use today in their original function.

Park Hotel: Following a trip to the USA in 1927, Hudec's design of Shanghai's Park Hotel was inspired by New York's and Chicago's skyscrapers. Completed in 1934, it was the tallest building in the Far East for many decades, and Shanghai's tallest building through the 1980's. The Park Hotel is a masterpiece of modernism and Art Deco, and a symbol of Shanghai's rapid development in real estate and building technology in the 1930's. Virtual 'visitors' to the 22-story Park Hotel can marvel, for example, at the hotel's elegant, Art Deco lobby.

Moore Memorial Church: Re-built by Hudec in 1931, the Church was originally built in 1887 to serve the Methodist community. Virtual 'visitors' to the Church will no doubt find the neo-Gothic structure, which includes Gothic vaulted ceilings, stone ribbing, and stained glass windows typical of the style interesting to view. The Bell Tower on the southwest corner of the Church, at 42.1 meters, was the highest tower in Shanghai at the time. The Moore Memorial Church is just one of several sacred buildings that Hudec designed in Shanghai on a pro bono basis.

D.V. Woo House: Completed in July 1938, the house was once known as one of the most spacious and luxurious residences in the Far East. Known also as the 'green house' due to the green glazed tiles that covered the surface, this residence integrated modern architecture with Art Deco. The residence was famous for the various rooms that served a variety of functions, including a banquet hall, ballroom, billiard room, bar, chess room, greenhouse, and sunroom. The residence was the first in Shanghai to boast an elevator, in addition to air conditioning. The Italian marble staircase, copper handrail, and copper radiators were all considered novelties at the time. These details, in addition to the Art Deco detailing throughout the residence, can now be enjoyed in GRAPHISOFT's interactive Virtual Building Explorer environment.

These animations can also be viewed in the Hudec Interactive Database (3D Hudec buildings).

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