APPLYING BIM TO BUILT HERITAGE WITH COMPLEX SHAPES: THE ICE HOUSE OF FILARETE’S OSPEDALE MAGGIORE IN MILAN, ITALY
Keywords: Building Information Model (BIM), laser scanning, photogrammetry, documentation, conservation, cultural heritage
Abstract. This paper presents the development of a BIM model for a stratified historic structure characterized by a complex geometry: Filarete’s Ospedale Maggiore ice house, one of the few remaining historic ice houses in Milan (Fig. 1). Filarete, a well-known Renaissance architect and theorist, planned the hospital in the 15th century, but the ice house was built two centuries later with a double-storey irregular octagonal brick structure, half under and half above ground, that enclosed another circular structure called the ice room. The purpose of the double-walled structure was to store ice in the middle and store and preserve perishable food and medicine at the outer side of the ice room. During World War II, major portions of the hospital and the above-ground section of the ice house was bombed and heavily damaged. Later, in 1962, the hospital was restored and rehabilitated into a university, with the plan to conceal the ice house’s remaining structure in the courtyard, which ultimately was excavated and incorporated into a new library for the university.
A team of engineers, architects, and students from Politecnico di Milano and Carleton University conducted two heritage recording surveys in 2015 and 2016 to fully document the existing condition of the ice house, resulting in an inclusive laser scanner and photogrammetric point cloud dataset. The point cloud data was consolidated and imported into two leading parametric modelling software, Autodesk Revit© and Graphisoft ArchiCAD©, with the goal to develop two BIMs in parallel in order to study and compare the software BIM workflow, parametric capabilities, attributes to capture the complex geometry with high accuracy, and the duration for parametric modelling. The comparison study of the two software revealed their workflow limitations, leading to integration of the BIM generative process with other pure modelling software such as Rhinoceros©. The integrative BIM process led to the production of a comprehensive BIM model that documented related historic data and the existing physical state of the ice house, to be used as a baseline for preventive maintenance, monitoring, and future conservation projects.