VALLORBE STATION (Vokzaly) 2030 –digital transformations–

The Vallorbe Station (Vokzaly) 2030 project exemplifies the performance of digital transformations on historical buildings, it shows the sustainability as well as infinite reuse of related data. This is one of the BIM pilot projects by SBB (Swiss Federal Railways).

This national monument on the Simplon-Orient-Express line was used for the production of a digital copy (or twin) in open standards by ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation).
Simulations of transformations were performed on the digital model of the building. The model is in open format 
IFC.

The project is divided in three phases; 1, production of the highly-precise architectural model, based on point clouds by surveyors; 2, creation of a digital twin that includes the architectural model, objects from SBB infrastructure as well as a link between these objects and a database. 3, digital transformations of Vallorbe Station.
The detail of these phases and technical information on the prototype can be consulted here.

The architectural aspects of the Vallorbe station were also explored; since the 1950’s the building complex is the undergoing successive reductions of space required for the railway functions and after 2024, the automated traffic management will make the control room and related infrastructure obsolete. By then 56% of the complex’s spaces will be under- or non-exploited, therefore a concept for its redevelopment was sought. The concept used for the transformation simulation is a destination station, such as the Pavlovsk railway station in St Petersburg; in the XIXe century, this station – built on the first train track in Russia – was part of a Vauxhall Pleasure Garden.

Five transformations and simulations have been performed on Vallorbe Station. They are summarized below (slides viewable on desktop computer only):

Data permanence: reuse of IFC models after 20 years

The project’s objective was to demonstrate the possible reuse of IFC for successive transformations, by any CAD (computer aided design) software, decades after it was produced.
The architect’s objective was to structure geometric and graphic data to produce plans according to Swiss norms.

Historic buildings such as train stations undergo fundamental changes twice a century. Data must be structured to allow simulations of these changes on the digital model decades after it was produced.

As the first ISO norm on IFC dates from only 2005, there is little experience on reuse of data.
However in 2002, a LOD 200 model for an historic industrial complex was produced and published into IFC 2 by Bernard Cherix. In 2020 it was possible to recuperate most of the model’s geometry and some information of its composing entities (e.g. wall, roof, door).

From this experience, a simulation of IFC reuse of the Vallorbe station after the 2030 transformation (see below) for 2070 was performed, demonstrating the infinite reuse of IFC for the production of plans.

Project period: 2018-2020

Client: Swiss Federal Railways / BIM@SBB

Partners: HEIG-VD (phase 1), Weinmann Energies SA & GIT-CAD SA (phase 2), Abvent SA

Research: ETH-Z –Architecture and Building Process–

Collaborators: E.Viret, N.Pasini-Romero, P.Gomez

Data permanence: reuse of IFC models after 20 years

The project’s objective was to demonstrate the possible reuse of IFC for successive transformations, by any CAD (computer aided design) software, decades after it was produced.
The architect’s objective was to structure geometric and graphic data to produce plans according to Swiss norms.

Historic buildings such as train stations undergo fundamental changes twice a century. Data must be structured to allow simulations of these changes on the digital model decades after it was produced.

As the first ISO norm on IFC dates from only 2005, there is little experience on reuse of data.
However in 2002, a LOD 200 model for an historic industrial complex was produced and published into IFC 2 by Bernard Cherix. In 2020 it was possible to recuperate most of the model’s geometry and some information of its composing entities (e.g. wall, roof, door).

From this experience, a simulation of IFC reuse of the Vallorbe station after the 2030 transformation (see below) for 2070 was performed, demonstrating the infinite reuse of IFC for the production of plans.

2030 transformation of the train station

The project’s objective was to produce an exact model of the station and perform a transformation to understand how to reuse IFC architecture in 20 years.

The architect’s objective was to demonstrate that the digital model allows a radical change in the use of a listed building. And this, without detracting from its historical substance with the help of high-precision spatial transformation simulations.

Transformation of a former transit station in Heimatstil –no storey of which is similar and whose roofs are of complex geometry– into a destination with a building with spaces for wellness and culture.
Vertical transport facilities are integrated into the building. And a proposal for the assignment of the second-floor basement –for which no plans have been drawn up to this day– is designed, with a reminder of the Simplon-Orient-Express.

2030 transformation of the train station

The project’s objective was to produce an exact model of the station and perform a transformation to understand how to reuse IFC architecture in 20 years.

The architect’s objective was to demonstrate that the digital model allows a radical change in the use of a listed building. And this, without detracting from its historical substance with the help of high-precision spatial transformation simulations.

Transformation of a former transit station in Heimatstil –no storey of which is similar and whose roofs are of complex geometry– into a destination with a building with spaces for wellness and culture.
Vertical transport facilities are integrated into the building. And a proposal for the assignment of the second-floor basement –for which no plans have been drawn up to this day– is designed, with a reminder of the Simplon-Orient-Express.

Easier access to trains: transformation of a platform

The objective is to improve the platform access in compliance with regulations for people with restricted mobility.
A simulation to correct the geometry of the platform so that it is at the same level as the floor of the train (in red on the illustration). In this case the platform must be lifted.
The simulation is done on a four meter strip by the historic door of the building, which should not be modified. The proposed correction can be a ramp but must be, according to regulation, less than 2%.
The gauge for building the architecture model is a point cloud insuring a precision range of one centimeter. It demonstrates the feasibility of the correction.

Easier access to trains: transformation of a platform

The objective is to improve the platform access in compliance with regulations for people with restricted mobility.
A simulation to correct the geometry of the platform so that it is at the same level as the floor of the train (in red on the illustration). In this case the platform must be lifted.
The simulation is done on a four meter strip by the historic door of the building, which should not be modified. The proposed correction can be a ramp but must be, according to regulation, less than 2%.
The gauge for building the architecture model is a point cloud insuring a precision range of one centimeter. It demonstrates the feasibility of the correction.

Clash detection: historic awning / new train

The objective is to detect potential conflicts between a train with a new gauge and existing works, in this case parts of the historic building (alternatively tunnel, bridges…). The detection is perform with the help of an analytical software using IFC.
Result: a conflict is found by the awning, the documentation of the clash is captured and the demand sent by BCF (open format supported by CAD softwares) to the planners.
E.g. the architect imports the BCF in his CAD software which shows him the conflicts and a message from the analyst with the task to correct the awning.

Clash detection: historic awning / new train

The objective is to detect potential conflicts between a train with a new gauge and existing works, in this case parts of the historic building (alternatively tunnel, bridges…). The detection is perform with the help of an analytical software using IFC.
Result: a conflict is found by the awning, the documentation of the clash is captured and the demand sent by BCF (open format supported by CAD softwares) to the planners.
E.g. the architect imports the BCF in his CAD software which shows him the conflicts and a message from the analyst with the task to correct the awning.

Maintenance of SBB installations –digital twin–

The team’s objective was to define a procedure to link the database of SBB installation objects (e.g. ticket machines, clocks, signalling) to the IFC model that includes regular updates.
The models architecture and SBB installations are distinct. Both have own theoretical lifespan: 50 years for the building, 15 or less for the installation objects.

The Surveyor’s point cloud and a swisstopo mesh model were used to georeference (in LV95) the architectural model.
Web based Common Data Environments were tested to perform a compilation of both architecture and installations models.

Together the models, swisstopo datas and SBB databank form a digital twin of the Vallorbe station (prototype).

Maintenance of SBB installations –digital twin–

The team’s objective was to define a procedure to link the database of SBB installation objects (e.g. ticket machines, clocks, signalling) to the IFC model that includes regular updates.
The models architecture and SBB installations are distinct. Both have own theoretical lifespan: 50 years for the building, 15 or less for the installation objects.

The Surveyor’s point cloud and a swisstopo mesh model were used to georeference (in LV95) the architectural model.
Web based Common Data Environments were tested to perform a compilation of both architecture and installations models.

Together the models, swisstopo datas and SBB databank form a digital twin of the Vallorbe station (prototype).