3D reconstruction of the medieval market house 'Am Brand' in Mainz

27 February 2012

Mainz's shopping center 'Am Brand' is a location that is steeped in the history of the city and its trading activities. There was already a market house on the same site as early as the 14th century.

But what did the medieval market house look like? This is something that researchers from the Institute of Historical Regional Studies at Mainz University (IGL) and the Institute of Media Design (IMG) at the Mainz University of Applied Sciences have been puzzling over for years. An interdisciplinary team has now succeeded in reconstructing the medieval market house with the aid of other Mainz research institutes.

View of historic Mainz from Mainz-Kastel; woodcut by Franz Behem, 1565 (image: Mainz City Archive) Franz Ludwig Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, canon of Mainz Cathedral and artist, painted the market house shortly before it was demolished, hence preserving important details that helped with the reconstruction (image: Mainz City Archive) The first attempt at a 3D reconstruction of the medieval market house 'am Brand': version 1.0 (image: IMG) Creating the geometric wire frame model of the market house is an essential basis for the development of a realistic reconstruction (image: IMG) Enthroned in a central position at the crenelation of the market house facade was a relief figure of Mainz's patron saint St. Martin, who was surrounded by the seven Electors (image: IMG) The surviving map by Gottfried Mascop, which was used for the purpose of tax collection and thus used numbers to indicate ... (image: IMG) ... the location of every single house in the city, makes it possible to exactly pinpoint the site of the market house (image: IMG) Reconstruction of the figure of the Virgin Mary that once protected the entrance to the market house: It had to be scanned in at high resolution and then to be 'brought to life' in several stages (image: IMG) The reconstruction of the unrecorded head of Jesus and the colors of the clothes are based on comparisons with similar figures from the Middle Ages and on detailed consultations between media designers, historians, and art historians (image: IMG) The Gothic interior of the market house provided a lot of space for storing goods, bartering, and trading; a more detailed reconstruction is planned and medieval shop stalls may also be added (image: IMG) The market house once stood where Mainz's population now go to buy clothes and electrical appliances (image: IMG)