Track 4: This New World: Preservation technology and emerging issues within our historic buildings and built landscapes
From Practice to Product: Leveraging complex and seemingly disparate data at the Nebraska State Capitol to develop a multi-platform survey application and how it was brought to market
Monday, September 24
10:30 AM - 12:00 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. It includes a detailed survey of all 1,365 rooms and 1,191 windows and designing 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. No single product was found to solve the problems at hand, so a new approach was taken by looking to the tech industry and how they work. Open-source development is at the core of nearly all new technology. These are collections of code that execute specific tasks 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 thousands of people contributing lines of code in an organized manner to improve its purpose. The benefit: instead of recreating the wheel each time a new piece of software is built, these libraries can be plugged into a product to perform their specific task.
The team leveraged these Open-source libraries to quickly build a solution that solved the problem. However, broadening this solution could solve a much more common problem in architecture: organizing unorganized data. The result is a multi-platform application which provides the ability to layer contextual data on top of BIM models. Specifically, it allows the team to collect information in the field tying it to specific model elements in real time. Using tablets, users are able to tag rooms, windows, and other elements with specific materiality, imagery, text, notes, tasks, dimensions, and more. In the BIM model, the team has instant access to this information via an in-model dashboard 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 context of specific elements (rooms, windows, etc.). This makes tracking progress and design of each of these solutions much easier to coordinate.
The presentation will focus on the process of taking this tool from practice to product. It will discuss how partnering with other firms and universities proved invaluable in creating a useful product, beyond the initial problem. It will demonstrate its use in historic preservation, and 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.
- Understand the process of refining a tool and its function for broader application.
- Understand the advanced technology that is being used in other industries and how they can be applied and used in preserving historic architecture and sites.
- Develop collaborative digital tools to assist investigation and documentation of a large scale, multi-year complex restoration project.
- Develop and utilize open source software in development of a digital app to help analyze and determine restoration scope of work.