(Photo courtesy of MOMA)

There is a bonus feature to a new museum show about engineers’ and architects’ inventive use of powerful computers and modeling technology to design extraordinarily tall structures: a landmark Website that allows anyone interested to see the show without travelling.

Tall Buildings, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art through Sept. 27, uses models and text to showcase innovations in skyscraper design through profiles of 25 built and unbuilt projects. The Website created to support the show goes several steps further at www.moma.org/exhibitions/2004/tallbuildings. "We didn’t want to regurgitate the same information in the exhibition and catalog," says Tina di Carlo, assistant curator. "So many times, Websites are simply a rephrasing of what’s on the wall."


The idea was to use the Web to present the buildings comparatively. The homepage puts building silhouettes in order of their heights in one skyline. Visitors can click on them for details and explanation, but pull-down links also lead to richly illustrated discussions of other comparative criteria and issues, such as aerodynamics, circulation, green technology, use of public spaces and structural technology. Not every building gets treated here, just a significant sample.

Di Carlo would not reveal the cost of the project, but says the fact that the material was already well organized was a big advantage. Her advice to others with visions of creating similarly rich Websites is to "work with a team that has a very strong vision and is dedicated to seeing it come to fruition."