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Virtual reconstruction: 'Haus der Deutschen Kunst'


A highly detailed reconstruction of the German propaganda museum 'Haus der Deutschen Kunst'.

Ernst Dommershuijzen writes:

I have created a virtual reconstruction of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst in Munich, Germany. The building served as a propaganda museum from 1937-1945. Today it is a museum of modern art.

The 3D model was modelled and textured using Blender 2.5. It shows the easy workflow between Blender and the Unity 3D engine. All changes to a mesh or its uv coordinates made within Blender are immediately updated within the Unity editor.

Fly through animation featuring all 40 exhibition rooms:

You can also watch the Interactive 3D model.

The interactive model features 40 exhibition rooms and 386 artworks from the 1937-1945 period. The artworks are read from an external database and placed throughout the rooms. Each artwork can be clicked for more information and details about the artist. The model is intended as a showcase for historical reconstructions and virtual exhibitions.

NOTE: in Unity 3.4 the automatic FBX import works with Blender up until version 2.56. There is an updated script on the Unity forum:

That one works with Blender 2.58 and 2.59 and will be implemented in Unity 3.5.


  1. This is wonderful!
    Wirklich alle Achtung - this is amazing work right there, I especially like that you can do actual research. This offers us, who were born too late, a chance to see how it actually was! I'm so excited, can't believe it's freely available too - No more hunting the net for German art produced in that 12 years.
    Thank you so much

  2. Something about this museum fly through reminds me of the first person shooter - Wolfenstein 3D. I loved that game! I love this fly through too. Good work.

  3. Good work. But why did you take the theme "german art"? I think what nazis did in there culture was only a big system of propaganda, and if you watch the slcuptures and paintings from arno breke and adolf wissel , for exampel has no soul.
    don´t forget that many artist of the 20´s (eg expressioniism, abstract art ,dadaism) were victims of the sytem of adolf hitler and his party. So i think you have to be carful to make such a project like you did.

  4. thank you very much, sehr schöne arbeit. Nice to see that application for 3d. I love walking through these rooms and watching the art. My only complaint would be that it's a bit dark so recognize the paintings before highlighting them. Otherwise, very good execution!

    Grüße aus Mainz

  5. Thanks everyone for the replies.

    This project is intended as a historical reconstruction and educational tool and not as some sort of propaganda in itself. The 3D environment makes it possible to show the way in which the art was presented and the possible impact it had (and obviously has) on visitors far better than by simply listing the artworks on a website. The dilemma in creating a model like this, is that one the one hand a historical reconstruction should be as faithful as possible, while on the other hand the historical context must be clear because of the controversial subject matter.

    Some technical information

    Because the paintings, sculptures and pedestals are placed procedurally there are no baked shadows in the model. However, because the environment runs very smoothly - even on lower-end PC's - lightmapping and/or dynamic shadows will probably be added in the future.



  6. Mussorgky - Interesting choice. Surprised me at first, since he's not a German composer and this is a German museum, but using Pictures at an Exhibition is actually quite clever :). (Also, as someone who works with sound - adding some high quality reverb to that recording would do wonders).

  7. Excellent model. It really conveys the chilling atmosphere of the original and the dead art contained within its cold echoing halls.

    Now please build the nearby exhibition of Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) so that we may enjoy some imaginative and inspiring art!

  8. wonderful... amazing... thanks so much for sharing this. Historic recreation is the finest world for 3D work work. just day you click on a link on Google Earth and you get a walk thru like this and... a model file. what a tour that would be.

  9. Thanks everyone!

    Yes, it is a shame that Unity is not (yet) ported to Linux. Some people seem to have some success with Wine/Crossover and Unity. Thank you for the link. Let's hope that one day there will be a standard for 3D content.

    Thank you for the suggestion about improving the sound. Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgky indeed sounded appropriate right away.

    That would certainly make the historical reconstruction more complete.



  10. @Felix "Because it is beautiful artwork that else would have been forgotten about"

    I'm sure that is the reason why the preview picture on the youtube channel shows the part of the tour with two portraits of Adolf Hitler on the left and right of the door. Because it is beautiful artwork. But I have to admit, they are not easy to spot in the video at 3:41, so it is probably the best to emphasize them. Maybe the best parts should be in slow motion, like the Nazi soldier throwing a grenade.

    Even if anybody actually likes the art (don't tell someone with a clue of modern art, he will react irritated), please take a short look at the wikipedia entries for Haus der Kunst and Nazi art. The main problem with the exhibition was not the bad art (a lot of kitsch), but what they decided was not art and therefore didn't displayed (wikipedia: degenerate art/entartete Kunst). For some reason these very important informations didn't make it into the final cut.

    So even if the fly-through is done technically well and the interactive features are great, please be aware that although Blender is a fantastic tool, this does not automatically imply that it will only be used for a fantastic purpose. I don't know anything about the political motivation of the creator (I have a guess), but I know something about art history and modern art and am a German who is very aware of Germany's Nazi history. Therefore I strongly recommend to everybody here to be careful what you are cheering at.


  11. @chriss: "I am a German who is very aware of Germany’s Nazi history"

    That's not much of a surprise. It's not like the complete German educational system is set around that same old story. Time to let go of the guilt and move on to think for yourself. Where is that very freedom to express your thoughts that was denied to the expressionists back then?

    Sometimes I almost feel ashamed to be a German.

  12. @Chriss

    You are reading far too much into this reconstruction. There is absolutely no political motive behind it; far from it. The thumbnail on YouTube was the one chosen by YouTube itself an now I have changed it. Furthermore I use the Vimeo version because there is less chance of banners popping up.

    This environment started as a continuation of a previous historical reconstruction and virtual exhibition space I created: the 19th century Amterdam Crystal Palace (Paleis voor Volksvlijt) that burned down in 1929.
    See: (It is a bit difficult to get the environment running because the Blink 3D plug-in is no longer supported, but it is possible.)

    And the whole idea came about a few years ago by hearing about the GDK project of the ZIKG in Munich:

    Having said all this, I think it is good thing if a reconstruction like this adds to both historical debates and technical discussions. As those are the two things I like to combine in my work.



  13. @Felix: Well, luckily you managed to escape the German educational system unharmed and now enjoy the freedom to express your guilt free thoughts. The world would be a poorer place without the renderings of German WWII tanks and bears in Nazi uniforms that can be admired in your "artwork" portfolio on the homepage you linked here.

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