Documentation and dissemination of the sculptural elements of Canada's Parliamentary Buildings: Methodology development and evolution, a case study
Keywords: Photogrammetry, Photography, Dissemination, Close Range Scanning, Masonry, Sculptural Elements, CNC, 3D Printing
Abstract. Parliament Hill consists of four historic gothic revival buildings, which form part of the Parliament Buildings National Historic Site of Canada in the National Capital of Ottawa. There are more than 2000 masonry sculptural elements throughout the four buildings. Three of the buildings are in the middle of multi-year rehabilitation projects. Extensive Heritage Documentation is being undertaken to support various activities and conservation teams throughout the interior and exterior of the buildings while also serving as a key posterity records. One of the significant heritage documentation projects is the 3D digitization of the 2000+ heritage character defining sculptural elements. The Heritage Conservation Directorate (HCD) of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) was tasked by the Parliamentary Precinct Branch (PPB) of PWGSC to document these character defining elements. The sculptures vary in size from as small as 100mm in width to up to 2 meters in size. This project is in its third year and much has been learned and researched about the most appropriate and efficient means by which to document these elements. Although a methodology was in place to document the sculptures at the inception of the project, it has gone through several iterations in order to improve the gathered data, and in turn increase the efficiency, quality and speed of data acquisition. This paper will describe the evolution of the methodology, as well as the rationale for the alterations in technique.
With over 600 of the approximate 2000 (heritage character defining) sculptural elements captured to date, the project is entering a critical phase where an efficient and effective method for sharing and disseminating the information to a wide audience is being explored and evaluated. The end result is intended to allow the client (PPB) and the general public a way to look at and interactively manipulate the viewpoint of each digital model. This will provide a unique opportunity for a wide audience to evaluate and appreciate these elaborate works of art. This database of information can also be of use for academic study and research.
To date the data captured by HCD has been utilized by conservation professionals and by the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) of Carleton University. HCD has partnered with CIMS to explore a wide variety of potential uses for the data including the creation of 2D-drawings, stone carving profile templates, 3D printed scale models, CNC carved maquettes, robotic stone carving, and digitally-designed replacement elements. CIMS and HCD have tested the limits of digital technologies to assist stone carvers in restoring carved elements while also learning from the sculptors and masons to better understand their approach when conserving or restoring a sculptural element. Examples of how the conservation team, specifically the stone carvers have been working with the data and technology will also be presented.