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Tuesday, May 17 • 2:35pm - 2:50pm
(Architecture Graduate Research Session) Preservation for a Digital Future: Using Laser Scanning to Protect Pompion Hill Chapel, Huger, South Carolina

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From hurricanes to floods to earthquakes, the Lowcountry of South Carolina’s historic built environment is under constant threat from natural disasters. Situated on the banks of the Cooper River, Pompion Hill Chapel, constructed in 1763, has withstood centuries of assaults from the natural world, aided in part by a sequence of conservation interventions and reconstruction periods. This study highlights the most recent disaster preparedness effort undertaken by the Warren Lasch Conservation Center (WLCC) at the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston, South Carolina, through a digital documentation and conditions assessment process intended to develop a system of routine documentation to monitor the effects of the environmental and geological actions.   When erosion began taking parcels of the Chapel land into the river, rip-rap was installed as a mitigation. The system slowed attrition, but shifted the surrounded soil’s moisture equilibrium. The installed rip-rap allowed moisture to escape from the clay heavy soil at a faster rate. As the clay hardened, the differential settlement of the soil caused the structure to crack. An intervention in the late 20th century addressed the settlement and cracking issues by creating a mechanized system to keep the clay heavy soil saturated at limits that would lessen the effects of soil movement. At the same time, a new roofing system was installed to support the original timber beams that had begun to sag under the weight of the slate shingles. While traditional hand-measured drawings exist for the site, these documents are limited and do not fully document the changes and alterations of Pompion Hill Chapel.   In order to help mitigate and monitor future and past interventions, conservators and architectural historians from WLCC worked to create a comprehensive conditions record of the structure, cemetery, and surrounding landscape. It was determined that a campaign that combined laser scanning and comprehensive field and archival research would provide the owners (who privately own the structure) with a working document that balanced high accuracy, reasonable cost, and would create a set of workable documents. As this project enters its subsequent phases, the 3D documentation (including the associated metadata) will be used to create a long-term monitoring program using future campaigns of 3D imaging. Conservators will return at specific intervals to highlight areas of concern to determine deflection, settlement, and the impact of the changing environment on the structure. This documentation not only provides an accurate as-is model necessary in the creation of a successful disaster management plan but also allows for subsequent assessment to track the impact environmental action has on the structure and allows for intervention before further (and more costly) damage occurs.

avatar for Jane Ashburn

Jane Ashburn

Student, Warren Lasch Conservation Center
Jane has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts and is working towards a Master's of Science in Historic Preservation at Clemson University/College of Charleston. Currently, she is an intern with the Warren Lasch Conservation Lab. Her work focuses on architectural documentation and artifact illustration... Read More →


Amy Elizabeth Uebel

Architectural Conservator, Warren Lasch Conservation Center with the Clemson University Restoration Institute
Amy Elizabeth joined the WLCC after completing her MSHP from the Clemson University/College of Charleston Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. Her work involves developing 3D scanning methods and supporting conservation projects involving architectural and large-scale metal... Read More →

Andrew Spitzer

Warren Lasch Conservation Center with the Clemson University Restoration Institute

Tuesday May 17, 2016 2:35pm - 2:50pm EDT
Room 515