Reich's Chancellery – project history

2003-2010 (the first 3D Model)

The recreation of the building of the Berlin Reich Chancellery on the computer began in 2003. The project was originally planned to take only 6 months until completion. In the beginning, it all looked very easy. There used to be a number of books available on the German and American market, focusing on the topic of the historic Berlin government district and the Reich’s Chancellery. The original plan was to finish the 3D – model needed for a planned 3D-animated documentary about the Reich Chancellery in a matter of six months. A team of five 3D modelers had been put together, and they were to use the photographs and plans published in the books by the various authors to recreate the building. Anyway, it soon became clear that this would be not such an easy task. Using a plan or a photograph to physically rebuild a building, means looking at those references much more closely than the author of a book would, as he wrote and published his book. Christoph Neubauer realized that there were discrepancies in some of the descriptions told by these authors, and suddenly facts did not appear to match the provided illustrations. Regardless all those hurdles the 3D – model of the Chancellery that were created between 2003 and 2006, came very close to the historical facts. The 3d model was, despite its limitations, detailed and historically accurate enough to be used for the creation of the 3d-animated documentaries. This was made possible, by editing the footage of the film, to simply show the areas of the 3d model, Christoph Neubauer was confident enough to share with the public. Between 2007 and 2009 the 3D- model got extended to show Hitler’s bunkers and the streets surrounding the chancellery, therefore, giving the viewer a better and more accurate impression of the whole location. Das 3D-Modell wurde in den Jahren 2007-2009 noch um den Bunker der Alten Reichskanzlei, den Führerbunker und weitere Umgebungsbauten erweitert, um dem Betrachter eine bessere Orientierung innerhalb des gesamten Gebäudeensembles zu ermöglichen.

2011-2018 (working on the new 3D - model)

In 2011 Christoph Neubauer began to take over the 3D – modeling part in the project as well and began to create the basements and the bunkers of the New Reich Chancellery. During this time, he had noticed that the newly created rooms did not match up with the exterior of the 3D - model created earlier by the designer team back in South Africa.
The first model was created using a very limited number of approximately 100 construction plans and photographs as a reference. By the year of 2011, the private archive of Christoph Neubauer had gotten larger hence providing him with a much wider source of research material and information than what was available to him at the start of the project back in 2003. His private archive today contains more than 13,000 plans and photographs of the chancellery in addition to more than10,000 of her surrounding buildings. Even though it would mean a costly investment in Christoph Neubauer's time and finances, in 2011 he made the decision to rebuild the entire 3D model of the Reich Chancellery.  
However, in the year 2013, a new upcoming technology made hope for the future use of the new 3d-model. How great would it be if people could walk inside the recreated Reich Chancellery using VR-Headsets like Oculus or HTC-Vive? But soon it became clear that motion inside VR would be still a major obstacle to overcome, for the user of this technology before VR could be used as a delivery tool to bring this building back to life. Another challenge that current VR technology presents, is resolution limited displays. It is not yet possible to view the new 3D-model in all its glory, details and colours. Because of these current VR technology constraints, the new 3d-model is presented in a classic first-person walkthrough inside a game engine similar to an FPS-Game. The person taking a tour is presented with the best possible quality of the textures, the modeled details, vegetation and lighting effects. Today the new 3d-model has got a tolerance to the original construction plans of not more than 0.5 cm. Christoph Neubauer was able to reach that goal by not only using the original construction plans as a photographic reference for the 3d-recreation. Instead he did rebuild every wall and every room by using the exact measurements avoiding therefore inaccuracy cursed by lenses distortion during the replications of the plans in the archives. But not every section of the building is documented on plans. Here he has to use only historic photographs as a reference. But it is an ongoing project which probably will never get to be entirely finished. The 3d-model will continue to grow, extend and being updated because new archive material and new information about the construction history of the Reich Chancellery continues to be made available from the past daily.

Planned Improvements of this Project

There will be continuous improvements on this 3D model. First, Christoph Neubauer will concentrate on completing the 3D model of August 1939. This will include all basement levels of the New Reich Chancellery as well as all the rooms on all four floors of the different parts of the building complex. The rooms for which no photographs are currently available will be reconstructed using floorplans and original construction plans. Therefore, it will be soon possible for visitors, taking a tour, to experience the full dimensions of the building. In time also the Old Reich Chancellery with the Fuhrers Apartment will be accessible, and the houses of the “Begleitmannschaften” (staff) on Hermann-Goering-Strasse, as well as the underground parking garage. The goal is to reconstruct the entire structure and therefore bring it back from the past, accessible for people who are interested in the history of this building.