Presentation of a paper on Reverse Architecture at the BIM World Munich 2018

Author: Bernard Cherix

Reverse Architecture1 or reverse engineering is the activity of studying an object to determine its internal functioning or method of manufacture, an activity comparable to reverse engineering, but applied to architecture.
The principle of reverse engineering is based on the documentation of an existing object, such as construction drawings or 3D scan –point clouds from laser- or photogrammetry–.
In addition to the surveyor’s point cloud, the architect will supplement his knowledge of the building with ground models, if available, archival plans, photographs (contemporary and old), descriptions and any other document that can provide him with relevant information on the object to be “retro-designed”.
This point cloud is processed with CAD functions that allow the reconstruction of surfaces from which a parametric model can be built by the architect (illustration).
This phase can be combined with Retro- BIM: the “retroactive modelling of existing buildings”.
Reverse Architecture is relevant for the transformation of historic buildings.

Following slideshow exemplify Reverse Architecture with three projects by the author.
Please note that the title is incorrect, the application of openBIM method makes sense for transformation, not for renovation.

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1 This term was used by R.L. Krikhaar (Amsterdam 1997, ISBN: 0-8186- 8013-X) referring to software maintenance.