This November marks the 5th anniversary of the new One Spadina, also known as the Daniels Building – home to the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. The building sits on one of Toronto's busiest corners, at Spadina and College, and is a magnificent building and a landmark of Toronto. As a survivor of Gothic Revival architecture, the building was built in 1875 and has been adapted to a number of different uses in the past century. In recent years, the building was underutilized by the University of Toronto, which decided to give new life and meaning to the heritage through a recent adaptive re-use.

Spadina One Pre Retrofit

One Spadina in 2013

The Challenges

Over the years, One Spadina fell into a significant need for repair on both the interior and exterior. In order to save this part of Toronto’s heritage, the University of Toronto contracted an architectural firm for restoration. They would also like to include an addition to the rear section of the building that would serve their needs for years to come.

Through the centuries, old architectural drawings which survived can not accurately reflect the condition due to later changes of use. To acquire the 'as-built' information on the building, Applied Precision 3D was requested to measure the current site for architectural and engineering information to support the preservation and adaptive re-use. 

spadina one gogoyles
Spadina One inside pre retrofit

One Spadina is a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture

Scanning outside of Spadina One
Scan the One Spadina
Scan in hall Spadina One

3D Laser Scanning is a portable and accurate solution to measure the exterior and interior of One Spadina

3D Metrology offering Solutions  

In a heritage preservation project like this, "as-built" 3D data is required in every phase for architects, engineers, and contractors to plan, preserve, and construct. Applied Precision 3D’s solution to the challenge is to acquire the ‘as-built’ data through a portable laser 3D scanner (LiDAR scanner). The 3D scanner captures all the site structure of the brick and woodwork, features, and the layouts of each room at a speed of 2 million points per second. It did not take too long for the 3D experts to scan the full exterior and interior rooms of One Spadina.

After the scanning was completed, the scans were combined and aligned in 3D laser scanning point cloud registration software to generate a point cloud. This point cloud shows the details of original character and historical elements from the interior and exterior with incredible precision and accuracy. 

Point Clouds of the Gothic Revival architecture

The Results

The point cloud data provides the essential 3D information to redesign the whole exterior and interior, add new sections, and construction planning. From the point cloud data, 3D mesh models were created, giving architects and researchers a digital twin of the One Spadina. Even though the building was retrofitted, the original building is now preserved forever in the digital world. The data can be used to understand all possible risks a monument or structure might face. In case structures are damaged, the data can be used to restore them to their former glory.

With accurate ‘as-built’ data, the two-phase project, including the conservation of the exterior and a new addition to the historic building, moved swiftly and was completed in 2017. The original One Spadina has now been renovated and integrated with a new work of contemporary architecture on the north end. 

New Spadina One

The new One Spadina completed in 2017

“[One Spadina is] a rare approach towards bringing a heritage building back to life through new construction, one respectful of the existing structure, while introducing new spatial qualities to the entire ensemble.” — 2014 Holcim Award jury 

The One Spadina project has received numerous awards for its excellence in architectural and urban design and the meaning of heritage preservation, including the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation in 2019. Read the full list of awards here. 

"What a textbook example of heritage preservation. We are proud to keep this unique part of Toronto in the digital world for the future - imagine how the future generation of architects will use the digital twins data from the scans." Robert Bell, Founder and President of Applied Precision 3D, commented. 

One Spadina Old Exterior One Spadina New Exterior

One Spadina New Interior

One Spadina Old Interior One Spadina New Interior 3

The Updated Historical Exterior and Interior Area of One Spadina

Benefits of 3D Metrology Applications in Heritage Preservation

In heritage conservation, the original drawings are hardly accessible. Thanks to 3D metrology, both the exterior and interior of the heritage can be documented, restored, renovated, and incorporated with dynamic new space and designs into the existing structures. 3D metrology provides the following benefits: 

  • Precisely capture the entire building, including dimensions and layout, architectural details, unusual surfaces, changes in construction over time 
  • Preserve forever, and accurately replicate an exhibit by documenting it “as-is” for future reference in the digital world
  • Provide the highest quality point cloud data, as-built drawings, and 3D models to streamline architecture design, construction
  • Expedite project planning, reduce site visits, and prevent costly rework Conclusion

Applied Precision 3D has more than 20 years of experience applying high-precision optical 3D metrology principles to heritage building preservation and adaptive re-use. Our expertise, combined with today’s advanced 3D laser digitizing technology, offers speed, accuracy, and reliability to meet demanding architectural design and construction challenges in heritage applications.

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