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

Highlighting the Historic: Utilizing Autodesk Revit for Historic Fabric Documentation and Preservation Planning

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

For historic buildings, the use of Revit is still in its infancy. Few historic buildings have been recreated in parametric, 3-dimensional models, mostly because it is difficult to accurately create such models of existing structures in Revit. Instead, the standard practice is to create 2-dimensional drawings of historic buildings in AutoCAD. However, while AutoCAD is still the industry standard for digital drawings of existing buildings, it lacks one major component that Revit has, the integrated parametric database.

The integrated database is a fully customizable database within Revit that contains all of the parameters of every building feature in a model. The case study I will present shows how useful these custom parameters can be for defining and presenting the location of historic fabric in a building, ways in which this information can be represented in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional environments, and how they can be used for both archival and practical purposes.

Between 1987 and 1992, a major renovation campaign was conducted at the Michigan State Capitol. This renovation aimed to return the Capitol, which had been subjected to numerous modifications since its construction in 1872, to as close to its original construction and decoration as possible. This work was thoroughly documented with numerous drawing sets and over 10,000 photographs, all of which remain in the Capitol’s archives. Because of the extremely thorough documentation, it was possible to identify many of the building elements that were changed during the renovation as well as those that had been left untouched. Using all of this information, we recorded interior substrates and finishes that date to pre-restoration and those that were modified during the restoration.

The Michigan State Capitol had concurrently commissioned a 3-dimensional Revit model of the building from another firm to use as a record and a tool for a major MEP upgrade campaign planned for 2017. This model would also be used for the historic fabric documentation project, to comprehensively record the changes from the restoration campaign in a single document. It would also become a guide during the MEP upgrade project to protect historic fabric from damage. Essentially, anywhere historic fabric is identified would be off-limits for MEP construction.

The use of Revit for this project allows the information from all of the drawings and photographs to be collected into a central database that is tied to the model of the building. In this way, it can also be represented graphically for extremely easy visualization of the information. Furthermore, the system can easily be updated with additional information for any work, past, present, or future, allowing for a comprehensive record of how the building has changed since it’s construction.

Learning Objectives:

Kevin A. Wohlgemuth

Architectural Conservator
Building Conservation Associates, Inc.

Kevin Wohlgemuth is an Architectural Conservator with Building Conservation Associates in Philadelphia. Mr. Wohlgemuth’s responsibilities on projects at BCA include archival research, site recording, laboratory analysis, treatment testing and development of treatment recommendations, preparation of construction documents, and construction administration. Mr. Wohlgemuth is also an experienced archaeologist and archaeological conservator having spent numerous field seasons excavating and conducting conservation treatments at archaeological sites in Italy, Turkey, and the United States. Mr. Wohlgemuth currently serves on the board of the Association for Preservation Technology Delaware Valley Chapter (APT-DVC) and the Advocacy Committee for the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philaladelphia.


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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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Highlighting the Historic: Utilizing Autodesk Revit for Historic Fabric Documentation and Preservation Planning

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