Exact to within 6 millimetres, the Scottish Ten 3D model provides vital conservation and maintenance data as the Opera House enters a decade of renewal.
In April 2013, a team of digital-documentation experts from the Scottish Ten project took more than 800 laser scans of the interior and exterior of the Opera House, and 56,000 digital photos, documenting 13 billion measurable points on the structure using cutting-edge, laser-mapping technologies.
The Scottish Ten is a five-year collaboration between specialists in heritage digital documentation at Historic Scotland, experts in 3D visualisation at The Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio and not-for-profit digital heritage organisation CyArk.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007, the Opera House joins Mount Rushmore in the US, India’s Rani ki Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) and China’s Eastern Qing Tombs as one of five international heritage sites to be preserved for posterity, alongside five Scottish World Heritage sites. The fifth international site has yet to be chosen.
The Scottish Ten 3D model, and accompanying fly-through showreel, provides whole new perspectives on a building that has not until now been viewable in its entirety at ground level.
Opened by Queen Elizabeth II in October 1973, the Sydney Opera House is the ninth of ten buildings to be documented for the Scottish Ten and the only one from the 20th century.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s most recognisable buildings and an icon of 20th century architecture. What better way for Scotland to help mark the 40th Anniversary of this iconic structure than by lending our world-class expertise in the field of digital scanning to help safeguard its future.
“This innovative collaboration will reinforce the already strong heritage and cultural links between Scotland and Australia. I offer my congratulations to the Sydney Opera House on this major milestone and wish it a successful 40th Anniversary year and beyond.”
Sydney Opera House Chief Executive Louise Herron said: “When the Scottish Ten came to us with the idea of creating an exact 3-D rendering of the Opera House, I knew how valuable that information would be in our conservation efforts. But I was astonished by its potential to help us in many other ways. We will use it in our education programs and to engage with new audiences online. People will be able to explore the Opera House no matter where they are. We already have applications in development for public release during our 40th Anniversary year.”