Monday, July 29, 2013

The Eiffel Tower on the Google Cultural Institute

The latest offering from the wonderful innovators at the Google Cultural Institute has a certain "je ne sais quoi." Paris' most visited monument, The Eiffel Tower has been given the digitial treatment in an exciting new project which, (attention all architects!) educates on the monument's masterful construction.

Three online exhibits blend the Towers's history with an excellent collection of items including rare archival images, photographs from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and even reproductions of the original architect's plans by Gustave Eiffel.

The first exhibit explores the birth of the Eiffel Tower while the second provides step-by-step details of the construction of the monument through a showcase of itemised photographs and sketches. A look at the Tower's inauguration and first few visitors lies in the third exhibit. Its social impact was immediately manifest by the visitors' willingness to climb 1710 steps to reach the top! The Google Street View Team have filmed 360-degree views of the monument's architecture and provide the panoramic views seen over Paris on making the ascent.

Constructed in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was built as a tribute on the 100 year anniversary of the French Revolution. In the same year, Paris held its Exposition Universelle, an exhibition for participating nations to showcase the advancements made in a heavily industrial age. The Tower's construction in two years, two months and five days is still hailed as an architectural achievement and an astonishing feat of French engineering. It remained the highest structure of its kind in the world for 40 years (a tile held today by the Burj Kalifa in Dubai) and continues to attract over 7 million visitors a year. As well as being France's most iconic symbol, this also makes it one of the world's most visited monuments!

We blogged about the marvellous Google Cultural Institute on the GSA Library Art & Design blog when it launched back in October last year. The virtual museum is amassing worldwide acclaim as it gathers momentum with the collections of some prestigious galleries and museums freely accessible to all. This latest project is tremendously exciting for bringing to life the architectural vision of Gustave Eiffel in the late nineteenth century and for the resources capabilities as a valuable educational resource! Vive la Google!