Building Information Modeling and Historic Buildings: How a Living Model Leads to Better Stewardship of the Past

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Theses (Historic Preservation)
building information modeling
historic structure report
Historic Preservation and Conservation
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Van Wagenen, Haley West

This thesis examines an alternative way of documenting historic buildings through the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM). By creating a model that responds to real-time data updates and serves as a central repository for information about a building, owners, operators and preservation professionals can better monitor conditions within a building and plan for its future. A model can catalogue every element and assembly, providing an inventory of the building’s parts. By assigning phases to past building campaigns, professionals gain a better understanding of a site’s chronology. Simulation of energy and water consumption assists professionals in becoming stewards of both historic and environmental resources. This thesis demonstrates that BIM is an appropriate, and advantageous, documentation method for historic buildings. The documentation of historic sites is focused on these primary activities: the capture of information about a site and the organization, interpretation, and management of that information. The requirements for documentation - measured drawings, a written narrative and large-format black and white photographs - remain the same. This method does not account for one major factor: change. It cannot respond to changes, renovations, and repairs. It does not serve as an up-to-date reference for understanding the current state of a building. Historic buildings face many challenges to their survival, often due to a lack of information about them. BIM leads to a more informed and more relevant historic structure report.

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<p>Suggested Citation:</p> <p>Van Wagenen, Haley West (2012). <em>Building Information Modeling and Historic Buildings: How a Living Model Leads to Better Stewardship of the Past</em>. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.</p>
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