Activists in Almaty have launched digital archive of the city’s architectural landmarks, painstakingly recreated using computerised 3D models.
Researchers and enthusiasts can explore more than 60 3D models including Soviet-era cinemas, cafes, apartment blocks, and bus stops.
The collection was created by Archcode, who fight to preserve Almaty’s iconic buildings through research, lectures, discussions and seminars, as well as their own pop-up museum.
They say that the models will play a vital role in capturing Kazakhstan’s changing architectural identity. “Architecture cannot be put in a museum like a regular exhibit,” says Anel Moldakhmetova, Archcode’s project coordinator. “It is constantly changing due to political decisions, renovations, natural disasters, and the city’s ecological and economic conditions.”
While photographs capture some of these buildings from the outside, Moldakhmetova believes that 3D models make it easier for experts to appreciate the structures’ size and beauty, allowing small ornaments and facades to shine through from their surroundings.
She hopes that the archive won’t just help activists to preserve the city’s legacy today, but will provide a vital resource for the next generation of architecture lovers.
“Our architecture is aging, which is a natural process that cannot be stopped,” she says. “What we can do right now is create a current 3D imprint of the city’s architectural landscape. It is valuable information for those who will be working with the city’s architectural heritage in the future.”
To explore the buildings for yourself, visit Archcode’s collection here.