The UCLA Urban Simulation Team is undertaking a series of historical re-creations, including the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. The renders are a little, you know, cartoony, but the fly-through really does give you a sense of the Exposition as it must have been in its glory days. I think the graphics remind me most of Quake or Quake II, which makes me want to run around firing unlikely guns at huge Cthulhoid horrors.
Real-time visual simulation technology has the potential to radically alter our understanding of historic urban environments. Unlike fixed computer animations, real-time technology allows interactive exploration of the modeled site, thereby creating unprecedented opportunities for experiential interpretation and innovative pedagogy. The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 is a perfect test case for the educational applications of interactive computer models. The exposition was a milestone for American architecture and urban planning. As Director of Works, Daniel Burnham coordinated a team of the most notable architects in the country, each designing one of the fair's major buildings. As a group, these architects created a classical city that would have lasting repercussions on American design ideals and spark the American Renaissance and City Beautiful movements. Our understanding of this important complex has heretofore been based solely on static images and written descriptions. This is no longer the case. Real-time visual simulation technology allows us to reclaim the lost experience of navigating through the White City. Just as in 1893, the completed model will allow users to stroll along the virtual Court of Honor, tour the Wooded Island, and marvel at the fair's classical structures from a gondola.