Full text: New perspectives to save cultural heritage

D. Donath, F. Petzold, T. Thurow, U. Weferling 
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Chair Computer Science in Architecture 
donath@archit.uni-weimar.de, petzold@fossi.uni-weimar.de, torsten.thurow@informatik.uni-weimar.de 
Working Group 1, Working Group 6 
KEY WORDS: consistent computer-aided building surveying, building model, building information system, method integration 
A variety of different kinds of information must be obtained and organised during the early planning phases of a project that is 
relevant for later research and planning phases. However, at this stage planning documentation has not usually been drawn up to 
which this information can relate to. The common practice of commissioning an initial detailed survey is often too expensive as well 
as being time consuming. Moreover, the results do not always reflect the requirements of the planner or the researcher. Their 
information requirements are localised and are often successively intensified. 
An object-oriented approach for building surveying is proposed based upon a sketch-like iconic initial survey which can be 
progressively enriched with information detail. The objects and their inter-relationship is the central model rather that the geometry 
of the building. Different kinds of information can be related to building objects and made available to all the project participants. 
The implementation of the system was realised as a series of prototypes which communicate with one another using a common data 
model and working platform called freak. This system provides a model for a better organisation of information for all areas 
concerned with building conservation and World Heritage. 
When planning for listed buildings, listed ensembles or World 
Heritage Sites the planner is often confronted with a similar 
situation: Building documentation regarding the built structure, 
its condition and historic importance is often lacking or 
unstructured. Important planning decisions often have to be 
made based upon this uncertain basis. Research has to be 
conducted in parallel to the planning of conservation measures 
and development of preliminary concepts. Very often this 
occurs under pressure within a short time-frame. There is 
seldom sufficient time for a fundamental building 
documentation and survey of all necessary areas. Nevertheless a 
degree of information is collected during this early phase which 
is relevant and important for later phases. This information 
should not be discarded. It can provide a rough outline to be 
further supplemented and enriched with new and more detailed 
information as planning progresses. An information 
management system for historic building substance should 
therefore contain all relevant geometric and non-geometric 
parameters for all phases of project planning, from the initial 
research and draft concept to a detailed survey as well as 
detailed planning information regarding building measures. 
For an application of this complexity it is necessary to consider 
the process of building documentation and surveying for 
planning and research purposes with regard to a series of new 
A building survey is required in order to identify which 
information needs to be captured and to order this 
information so that each participant in the project planning 
has access to it. 
An object-oriented structure should be used which on the 
one hand follows a standardised pattern, and on the other is 
flexible enough to be adaptable to each individual situation. 
A detailed and highly-accurate geometric survey is no 
longer the sole basis for planning works but just one of 
many possibilities of data and information capture. 
In many cases it is useful to sketch out the essential form 
and structure of a building in advance for initial planning 
Captured data, whether in sketch form or a detailed survey, 
should be stored in relation to objects rather than purely as 
graphic representations. 
A prototypical software system for the planning and realisation 
of renovation works for large buildings based upon this concept 
has been developed at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. 
Fundamental research has been conducted as part of the DFG 
funded collaborative research project 'Materials and Structures 
in the Revitalisation of Buildings’ (CRS 524), a sub-project of 
D2 'IT-supported Systems for Planning within Existing 
Buildings'. The central findings (see Donath et al. 2001; 
Petzold 2001; Donath 2003) can be also applied to large-scale 
historic monuments, ensembles and World Heritage Sites. 
The starting-point with which the architect, archaeologist or 
engineer is confronted is often identical: Before the actual 
planning task can begin, a comprehensive consideration of the 
existing built situation has to be undertaken. This requires an 
intensive and detailed exploration and explanation of the 
existing situation, a survey of all building-relevant information 
necessary to describe and understand the task at hand. The

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