ARTstor and Columbia University are pleased to announce a collaboration intended to encourage the use of Quick Time Virtual Reality (QTVR) panoramas of world architecture in teaching, learning and scholarship.

The Visual Media Center at Columbia University’s Department of Art History and Archaeology has taken a lead role in developing QTVR documents of world architecture. Through a recent agreement, Columbia will work with ARTstor to distribute several hundred of these documents for educational and scholarly use as part of the ARTstor Digital Library. QTVR enables faculty and students to complement traditional side-by-side image comparisons with a mode of representation based on space and context. The VMC has documented monuments and sites including such antique sites as the Pantheon and Domus Aurea in Rome (Nero’s “Golden House”), Early Christian and Byzantine sites such as Galla Placidia, the Orthodox Baptistry, Sant’Apollinare in Classe, San Vitale in Ravenna and Hosios Lukas in Greece; Islamic sites including the Hagia Sophia; Medieval cathedrals from Amiens to York; numerous Renaissance and Baroque architectural monuments; and important 19th and 20th century sites including the Paris Opera, Le Corbusier’s Church of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, Rem Koolhaas’ Seattle Public Library, and many others. At the same time, ARTstor is pleased to be sponsoring an upcoming Columbia QTVR campaign in Venice, Italy, which will produce panoramas of a range of historically significant sites from various eras in the city’s storied history. This project will be conducted under the aegis of the Columbia University Center for Study in Venice at Casa Muraro.

Acting as Field Director for the Columbia QTVR campaigns, medieval art historian Andrew Tallon has, over the past six years, photographed more than two thousand 360° spherical QTVR nodes of some of the greatest monuments of European architecture – at present the largest such collection in existence – which he and his colleagues use for both teaching and research. Speaking as both an informed practitioner and a scholar and teacher, Tallon observes that “QTVR represents a huge advance over the traditional slide. It allows both teacher and student to experience architectural space in ways that were not possible before. Le Corbusier’s chapel at Ronchamp, for example, is both difficult to access and defies two-dimensional representation; but with QTVR it can be brought directly into the classroom. Similarly, the entire sculptural program of the central portal of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris can be explored from a single interface, with the user zooming in to see details as desired.” Max Marmor, ARTstor’s Director of Collection Development, expresses ARTstor’s enthusiasm for this partnership. “We are delighted to be working with our friends at Columbia both to extend the reach of their pioneering work with QTVR and to help ensure that this work can continue. We are convinced that QTVR and related technologies have the potential to transform the study and teaching of architectural history and other related subjects, and believe there is an important role for ARTstor in advancing this effort.”

The Visual Media Center at Columbia University explores material culture, vision, media, and pedagogy in the broadest sense to connect faculty research and student learning through the creative application of technology.

The first fruits of this collaboration should be available to ARTstor users early in 2007