May 31, 2023

3D Laser Scan for Challenging Site in St Ives

Written by Michelle Martin

PBWC Architects used 3D laser scanning technology for Rock House in St. Ives

What is 3D laser scanning technology?

As technology continues to evolve at break-neck speed, 3D laser scanning is being deployed as a precise measuring tool by architects designing ambitious homes on challenging terrains.

3D laser scanning captures data of objects and landscapes through firing tens of thousands of laser beams that bounce off the surface recording measurements as a set of 3D coordinates. These coordinates represent shape and distance of objects enabling architects to design buildings on challenging terrains with greater precision.

During the site analysis survey, 3D laser scanning technology provides a useful resource to all collaborators within the build such as the contractor, project manager and builder. This 3D laser scanning technology also creates a great visualising tool for the end-user to add context to the overall design.


3D laser scanning on tricky terrains

Image credit: PBWC Architects

How PBWC Architects used 3D laser scanning technology to achieve an ambitious design 

PBWC Architects was commissioned to design a two and a half storey replacement dwelling on challenging terrains with the additional challenge of grade II listed geometries within the Conservation Area in St. Ives.  

Not only did the 3D laser scanning technology assist in pushing the planning process through swiftly, but studying the bedrock of the challenging terrain and complex site helped them to specify materiality and build smoothly and accurately where conventional surveying techniques wouldn’t have been effective.  

Rock House, as mentioned in Dezeen for utilising this laser tech, is near in completion with architectural glazing elements being installed by the IQ South West team. Since Rock House sits on a cliff edge, access to site was restricted. A nearby farm field was used to receive deliveries. The hire of a tele handler and a small trailer was required to break down the delivery into smaller parts to access the site and install.  Glazing elements include large structural rooflights, slim framed sliding glass doors, floor glazing, casement doors and windows, and frameless glass balustrades 

Case study coming soon! 

3D laser scanning technology enables architects like PBWC Architects, to continue to push the boundaries of design to deliver the most beautiful dwellings on challenging terrains that, in turn, capture the imagination and the most stunning scenic views. 



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