Carleton University’s Innovative Work on Parliament Hill on Display at Blueprint 2020

The Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) is participating in Blueprint 2020 (BP2020), a one-day innovation fair organized by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) on May 31, 2017.

When: Wednesday May 31, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Sparks Street between O’Connor and Bank

Carleton University faculty and students will be available to answer questions from the media and public.

CIMS will have three tents at BP2020. The first will feature digitally assisted fabrication, a working robot and a 3D printer. The second will house an exhibit on building information modelling (BIM) and laser scanning, while the third tent will showcase digital storytelling.

Carleton University’s work on the Parliament Hill renovations has been extensive. The university recently opened a special interactive exhibit with a virtual reality (VR) tour of the Senate at the Capital Information Kiosk for Canada’s 150th anniversary, right across the street from Parliament Hill. It will remain there all summer.

Carleton’s ongoing contributions will be highlighted on May 31. They include:

Digitally Assisted Fabrication

Although the tools they use have evolved over the years, architects have always designed and built physical structures and objects. A pair of jointed-arm industrial robots recently acquired by CIMS represent the latest leap forward. Purchased with support from PSPC and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the robots will help CIMS and its collaborators in the federal government continue their cutting-edge work in the rapidly advancing world of digitally assisted fabrication. The CIMS team will use the robots to assist in creating sculptural elements in a variety of materials — including stone and wood — from digital models obtained by laser scanning and photogrammetry. This technology has already been of use on Parliament Hill, where sculptural details are being replaced or restored as part of the renovations, and for crafting new decorative features for the Government Conference Centre, which will serve as a temporary home for the Senate when the decade-long Centre Block restoration begins.

Building Information Modelling

A BIM is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building, collection of buildings or community. BIMs are a collaborative tool that allow architects, engineers and others in the construction industry to work together. CIMS acquires metric information for its BIMs through laser scanning — which captures information about the shape of an object, building or landscape by using laser beams to measure the distance between the scanner and the target — and photogrammetry, the science of using a series of photographs to make digital mesh models. Although BIMs are typically used for new construction, CIMS’s innovative approach applies the technology to existing buildings. For its BIM of Parliament Hill’s Centre Block, CIMS also used the 1916 construction plans for the structural steel framework of the building. CIMS has created BIMs of the East Block and West Block buildings, Quebec’s Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation and the Edmunds Locks on the historic Rideau Canal, among other projects.


Digitally Assisted Storytelling

When major renovations begin on Parliament Hill’s Centre Block next year and the Senate of Canada moves into its temporary home, anybody with Internet access will be able to experience the iconic Red Chamber thanks to the CIMS virtual tour. Visitors can enter the virtual building and experience 360-degree panoramas, photographs and animations that bring to life the chamber’s artwork and architectural details, from paintings, sculptures and the speaker’s chair to the four “grotesques” perched over the main door. They can click on hotspots to read or listen to stories about the provenance of these features, and they can view a building information model that reveals the physical substructure above the ceiling. This recently unveiled virtual tour of the Senate, which the CIMS team created using 360-degree photographs, laser scans and photogrammetry of the interior of the building — embodies the lab’s approach to digitally assisted storytelling. Other storytelling initiatives include CIMS’s leadership on the Cultural Diversity and Material Imagination in Canadian Architecture (CDMICA) project, which examines the ethno-cultural character of materials and methods of construction.

About CIMS

CIMS develops tools and techniques to transform data into tangible and meaningful artifacts that impact the way people see, think and work in the world. Over the past decade, CIMS has built an international reputation by collaborating with public, private and not-for-profit partners on a diverse portfolio of projects that demonstrate the potential of new and emerging digital technologies for architectural rehabilitation and heritage conservation. Affiliated with Carleton’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism and unique among university research centres in Canada, CIMS is dedicated to the education of the next generation of heritage professionals.


Media Contact
Steven Reid
Media Relations Officer
Carleton University
613-520-2600, ext. 8718

Follow us on Twitter:
Need an expert? Go to: