3D scanning the Opera House for posterity

The Scottish Ten is undergoing a detailed survey of the Sydney Opera House as part of its project to digitally preserve UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Scottish Ten is undergoing a detailed survey of the Sydney Opera House as part of its project to digitally preserve UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

(Credit: The Scottish Ten)

Nothing lasts forever; even our most spectacular monuments will decay over time. Even though it's unlikely that the NSW government will let the iconic Sydney Opera House fall into a state of serious disrepair, at some point in the far future, it's likely that the building will need serious work.

Cue The Scottish Ten, a project that aims to create extraordinarily accurate 3D digital models of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Originating in Scotland as a collaboration between the Scottish Government's heritage agency, Historic Scotland, The Glasgow School of Art's Digital Design Studio and not-for-profit digital heritage organisation CyArk, the five-year project has expanded to include sites around the globe — Australia's Sydney Opera House among them.

The comprehensive survey — the only one of The Scottish Ten's listed sites to have been constructed in the 20th century — will laser scan every inch of the Opera House, inside and out, to provide the building's overseers with building management and conservation data.

"The Sydney Opera House is one of the world's most recognised buildings and an important World Heritage place," said Federal Minister for Environment and Minister for the Arts Tony Burke. "It is not just a symbol of Australia's cultural and artistic excellence, but to many, it is also a symbol of Australia itself. I am delighted and honoured that the Sydney Opera House has been included in this innovative project."

The Sydney Opera House joins Mount Rushmore in the US, Rani ki Vav (The Queen's Stepwell) in India and the Eastern Qing Tombs in China as one of five World Heritage Sites outside of Scotland to be selected for the project. The final site has yet to be announced.

 

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