Track 1: DOCUMENTATION AND DIAGNOSTICS – UNDERSTANDING HISTORIC PLACES / Volet 1 : Documentation et diagnostic – Comprendre les lieux historiques

A Capitol “App”: Leveraging Open-sourced Technology to Document, Record, and Coordinate Work at the Nebraska State Capitol (part 2 of 2)

Saturday, October 14
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

The Nebraska State Capitol, designed by Bertram Goodhue, is internationally significant as an example of the harmony of art, landscape design, and civic architecture. The Capitol is undergoing an eight-year phased interior restoration and HVAC improvement project. The effort includes a detailed survey of all 1,365 rooms and 1,191 windows and developing solutions for each, to conserve the historic fabric of the building. The scale and multiplicity of solutions for this project necessitated a different approach to the collection, coordination, and design of solutions.

The process began by looking for solutions within the architectural industry and other industries to meet the needs of the project. While no single product was found to solve the problems at hand, a new approach was taken by looking to the programming and computer science industry and how they work. Open-source software and libraries are at the core of nearly all technology development. These are collections of code that do specific things and are kept inherently general so they can be as adaptable as possible. These libraries are free for anyone to use. They are developed by 10’s to sometimes 1000’s of people contributing pieces of code to it in an organized manner to improve its purpose. The benefit is instead of recreating the wheel each and every time a new piece of software is built, these libraries can be plugged into a software program, performing their specific task.

The initial problem was solved by leveraging these Open-source libraries and technological advancements in other industries to build a solution in-house. The result is a multi-platform application. Its purpose is to provide the ability to layer contextual data on top of an already detailed BIM model. Specifically, it allows the team to collect information in the field on tablets and immediately tie that information to specific model elements, like rooms, windows, and doors. Information like, materials, images, quantities, notes, dimensions, and more. When working in the BIM model, the team has instant access to all information collected via a dashboard that shows the related information as the user navigates through the model. Not only does this dashboard allow users to view and edit data that was collected, but the team can also add tasks and communicate with messaging in the context of specific elements like rooms, windows, and doors. This makes tracking progress and design of each of these solutions much easier to coordinate.

The presentation will focus on the process of developing this documentation tool, demonstrating its use in historic preservation practice, and discussing how Open-source is not only useful in developing tools like this one, but can become a model for how architects can begin to work and collaborate as an industry.

Learning Objectives:

Zach Soflin, Registered Architect

BVH Architecture

Zach is a licensed architect at BVH Architecture. With six years of experience, he has developed a special interest in computational applied design and research. His work includes projects of various sizes, applying divergent design solutions anchored in research and data-driven analysis. Zach’s desire for knowledge and collective exploration has positioned him as a thought leader within BVH, co-leading the initiative.

Recent Projects:
-State of Nebraska Statewide Historic Building Survey
-Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Gateway Arch HSR
-Nebraska State Capitol Restoration
-Fort Smith National Historic Site HSR
-Fort Atkinson State Historical Park Restoration
-Thesis on Data Driven Architecture


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Mario Santana

Mario Santana-Quintero, is an associate professor on Architectural Conservation and Sustainability at department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Carleton University. He is also the Director of the NSERC Create program “Engineering Students Supporting Heritage and Sustainability (HERITAGEENGINEERING)” based at the Carleton immersive Media Studio Lab (CIMS). He has an architectural degree, holding a master in conservation of historic buildings and towns and a PhD in Engineering from the R. Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (University of Leuven). He is also a guest professor at the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (University of Leuven). These past years he has been teaching also at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico) and Universidad de Cuenca (Ecuador). In the past, he was a Professor at the University College St Lieven and lecturer at the University of Aachen RWTH and the Historic Preservation Programme at the University of Pennsylvania between 2006 and 2011. Along with his academic activities, he serves as ICOMOS Board member and he is the past president of the ICOMOS Scientific Committee on Heritage Documentation (CIPA). Furthermore, he has collaborated in several international projects in the field of heritage documentation for UNESCO, The Getty Conservation Institute, ICCROM, World Monuments Fund, UNDP, Welfare Association, and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.


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A Capitol “App”: Leveraging Open-sourced Technology to Document, Record, and Coordinate Work at the Nebraska State Capitol (part 2 of 2)

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Send Email for A Capitol “App”: Leveraging Open-sourced Technology to Document, Record, and Coordinate Work at the Nebraska State Capitol (part 2 of 2)