Feb
23
2017

Baroque Topologies

FARO Technologies are thrilled to have aided Andrew Saunders, Associate Professor from the University of Pennsylvania to accomplish his mission of collecting a digital archive of Baroque art and architecture.  Saunders, who works in the Department of Architecture travelled to Italy for six weeks in order to scan and archive some of the most prominent Italian Baroque architecture. Following the University of Pennsylvania’s commitment to ‘advancing the public good–both locally and globally–through art, design, planning, and preservation,’ the purpose of this project was to discover a superior method to digitally explore highly complex baroque architecture.

By using a FARO Focus3D X 130 laser scanner, data was captured showing the prospering evolution from the early and high baroque in Rome extending to the late baroque in the Piedmont Region in Northern Italy. The archive includes work from Francesco Borromini, Bernardo Vittone, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Pietro da Cortona Guarino Guarini, and Carlo Rainaldi. Precise 3D models were produced of the interior spaces of various churches which can now be viewed in full colour.

Taking into account that there were many challenges during this project, Andrew Saunders pointed out that the project would not have been possible without the contributions it received from its co-workers including FARO, Autodesk and the Italian contacts that made it possible to gain access to the scans.

FARO made a significant contribution to this project by providing a Focus3D X 130 laser scanner. This ultra-portable device allows users Topologies, FARO, University of Pennsylvania, baroque art, FAto record complex structures delivering realistic and true-to-detail scan results. The high resolution scanner has a range from 0.6m up to 30m and a distance accuracy of up to ±2mm. It also has a one million points per second scanning rate enabling fast, straightforward and accurate measurements of objects and buildings. FARO also offered software and training to those who had the responsibility of operating the laser scanner. The purpose of these scans was to create a comprehensive digital archive of the work. High resolution scans using the FARO Focus3D X 130 allowed verification, calibration and discovery of Baroque topologies.

Saunders stated, “The ability to capture, record and simulate increasingly larger sets of data, coupled with remote access to cloud computing and progressively more affordable additive fabrication technology, provides new opportunities and methods for understanding and assessing complexity and representation in architecture.”

The results from this project are extraordinary in many ways. The data that has been collected will now create digital access to some of the most prominent churches in the world, in a way that has never been available before. Furthermore, the captured scan data will allow experts to carry out reverse engineering of the algorithms behind the truly astounding baroque architecture.

However, the project is still not yet completed. It is intended that the archive will be used for in depth analysis and comparisons between the Italian churches. Moreover, The University of Pennsylvania School of Design will now work with Autodesk in order to make the archive available to the public as well as other students and scholars.

To access interactive 360 degrees views of the baroque architecture please click here. 

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