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Preservation Technology Lab

The Preservation Technology Laboratory enables cutting-edge research in preservation digital technology, materials science, and aesthetics. The lab re-opened in 2019 in a fully renovated facility and is equipped with expanded digital technology capacities, new scanning equipment (a Lucida Sub-Millimetric Scanner and drone, for example), advanced data processing hardware and software (photogrammetry), and non-destructive probing equipment (thermal cameras, humidity sensors, crack monitoring). The Preservation Technology Lab is intended to support studios and will be at the center of new courses, such as Traditional Building Technology, Modern Building Technology, and Investigative Techniques for Laboratory and Field. The lab will promote research into unique applications that combine materials science and digital technologies, with particular emphasis on replication and adaptive reuse, as well as the aesthetic implications of these technologies. It is currently and actively seeking partnerships with stewards of historic buildings to test and develop these applications in the field.

Sponsored by the Data Science Institute, Dr. Emily L. Spratt is undertaking research in the Preservation Technology Lab which investigates the development of artificial intelligence for the analysis of art and architecture.

Supplies and Equipment

The lab makes equipment available to students and faculty including a deionized water supply, glassware, chemical reagents, Philips x-ray diffractometer, Nikon and Zeiss polarizing light and stereo binocular microscopes with an Infinity 2 digital cameras, DJI Phantom 3 drone, multiple Onset T/RH indoor and outdoor dataloggers, and Accumet pH and conductivity meters and a TRACER 5iTM Handheld XRF analyzer which works on x-rays diffraction and helps analyzing the elements and component of a found object. In addition, the laboratory houses some of the most complete and extensive historic collections of brick, sand, terra cotta, wood, and mudbrick, as well as a unique set of collections of stone samples dating back to the 19th century, and historic mortar and mosaic samples dating from Roman times to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

Preservation Technology Laboratory
Jorge Otero-Pailos, Director of the MS Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP introduces the School’s newly renovated Preservation Technology Laboratory. The lab re-opened in 2019 as a resource for Historic Preservation students and faculty, enabling cutting-edge research in preservation digital technology, materials science, and aesthetics.

Arturo Pacheo Solana | Wood Sample Preparation for Microscopic Analysis