See the Unseen: Amazing 3-D Views of Historic Churches and Theaters

Posted on: September 26th, 2013 by Lauren Walser 2 Comments

Reconstructed Chapter House. Vina, California. (2013)

For the past two years, San Francisco-based designer Scott Page has been taking his 11-lb. 3-D laser scanner into historic churches and theaters all around the Bay Area, including Bernard Maybeck’s First Church of Christ, Scientist in Berkeley and the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, collecting point clouds of data and photographic images to quickly and accurately map every detail of a building’s interior, down to each visible beam and pipe.

“[Scanning] allows you to visualize buildings in ways you couldn’t see them before,” Page says. “You can really get to places where you couldn’t before, even just five years ago.”

His scans are as practical as they are artistic. Laser scanning has huge implications for historic preservation, namely in that it helps builders better study a space before making repairs or alterations. The images he captures allow builders and architects to measure any part of the building, without having to get out the ladder and tape measure, he says.

Reconstructed 12-13th Century Cistercian Chapter House. Vina, California. (2013)
The newly reconstructed 12th-13th century Cistercian Chapter House for the New Clairveaux Monastery in Vina, Calif., is the oldest reconstructed european building west of the Rocky Mountains.

“It’s the fastest way to accurately map a building, and it can save a lot of time and money,” he says. “That’s the power of it.”

Page’s scans also create a useful archive for future preservation efforts.

“Many older buildings don’t have the best blueprints, or they’ve been destroyed or lost over time,” Page says. “If something happens to the building, this will be the best record available.”

Here are some more indelible images from Page's collection:

Maybeck's First Church of Christ, Scientist: Sanctuary. Designed 1910 (with connecting hall to 1927 Addition). Berkeley, Ca. (2013)
Maybeck's First Church of Christ, Scientist (sanctuary shown above) was designed in 1910 with a connecting hall to a 1927 addition. The church has National Landmark Status.

 

Maybeck's First Church of Christ, Scientist: Section/elevation through sanctuary. Berkeley, Ca. (2013)
Maybeck's First Church of Christ, Scientist: Section/elevation through sanctuary.

 

Maybeck's First Church of Christ, Scientist: Section/elevation through sanctuary (mid-point). Berkeley, Ca. (2013)
Maybeck's First Church of Christ, Scientist: Section/elevation through sanctuary (mid-point).

 

Reconstructed Chapter House: Plan. Vina, California. (2013)
Reconstructed Chapter House: Plan.

 

Reconstructed Chapter House: Section. Vina, California. (2013)
Reconstructed Chapter House: Section.

 

Reconstructed Chapter House: Section/Elevation. Vina, California. (2013)
Reconstructed Chapter House: Section/Elevation.

 

Reconstructed Chapter House: Section/Elevation. Vina, California. (2013)
Reconstructed Chapter House: Section/Elevation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.

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2 Responses

  1. See the Unseen: Amazing 3-D Views of Historic Churches and Theaters | Adhi Desknotes

    September 26, 2013

    […] See on blog.preservationnation.org […]

  2. Arlene Capponi, Chair, Mission Committee

    October 10, 2013

    Appreciate the “UNSEEN, AMAZING Historic
    Churches….
    FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, IRWIN, PA
    HAS A REMARKABLE ART SANCTUARY….the
    artwork has been restored due to age
    but no one can identify artist or how
    the work came to be. I have questioned
    former minister in the pulpit over 25 yrs and the elderly, simply told
    told “it was here since I was little..”
    What an expenditure risk at the time!
    Having done travel in Italy, etc. I
    have never seen the equal!
    Arlene Capponi
    readyforliving@aol.com
    2400 Willow Dr.
    N.Huntingdon, PA 15642