Revisited: The Past is Present Workshop

19 Apr, 2018

Revisited: The Past is Present Workshop

The Berkeley Center for New Media was pleased to offer a workshop on Point Cloud Surveying and Virtual Reality on April 6, 2018 as part of The Past is Present: Virtuality, Archaeology, and the Future of History, a 3 day symposium featuring lectures, panels, demonstrations, and an exhibition preview.

Led by Ilmar Hurkxkens and Mohammad Keshavarzi, the workshop introduced participants to point cloud data collection through a terrestrial laser scanner at the historic Woo Hon Fai Hall. The winner of an international competition held in 1966, Woo Hon Fai Hall was designed by San Francisco architect Mario Ciampi with associates Richard L. Jorasch and Ronald E. Wagner, and opened in 1970. On its opening, San Francisco Chronicle critic Alfred Frankenstein praised it as the “Bay Region’s first thoroughly modern museum structure . . . a major work of art in itself.” The subject of a temporary, mostly external seismic reinforcement in 2001, the building now sits vacant, with an investment of $28-32M necessary to allow seismic and mechanical upgrading for continued university use. While the recipient of landmark status from the City of Berkeley in 2012, the building remains at risk of demolition in favor of competing campus architectural priorities. Participants used a FARO Focus 350 to scan this historic site under the guidance of Ilmar and FARO representative, Chris Brown.

Following the on-site visit, participants returned to 230 Blum, a new Virtual Reality Lab on campus. There, using open source software packages, they began registering and segmenting the raw 3D point cloud data — a task that required some exceptional spatial awareness given the fascinating and often perplexing walls and corners of Woo Hon Fai Hall. Mohammad then led participants in importing this data into Unity 3D to create a virtual reality experience using several simple algorithms. By the end of the day, participants could navigate through Woo Hon Fai Hall in a virtual environment.

This event was hosted by the Berkeley Center for New Media, with sponsorship from the Archaeological Research Facility (ARF) and support from FARO.

2018 The Past is Present: Workshop