Take a 3D virtual tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's winter retreat

The immersive experience, which is like a turbo charged Street View, offers a new kind of preservation in virtual reality.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer
Frank Lloyd Wright Point Cloud

A new initiative will preserve iconic Frank Lloyd Wright properties without a single tool.

Or at least not the kinds of tools you'd find on an architectural preservationist's tool belt.

Leica Geosystems, which makes hardware to perform precise spatial measurements for a variety of industries, including construction, has teamed up with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to digitally preserve the architect's iconic properties and offer unprecedented worldwide access to anyone with a connected browser.

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The first preserved property is Taliesin West, Wright's winter home and studio. You can tour it here (be sure to scroll past the initial interior image).

"True to our mission, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is dedicated to preserving Taliesin and Taliesin West for future generations," says Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. "Through our partnership with Leica Geosystems, we're able to carry our mission, and Wright's vision, into the future by making Taliesin West available to the world so they can experience his ideas, architecture, and design in new ways."

At the heart of the digital preservation process is Leica's BLK360, a lightweight, easy to use 3D-imaging laser scanner that's useful for monitoring construction projects and other site-specific jobs.

The scanner captures 360 degree spherical imagery, allowing for immersive navigation not unlike Google's Street View, albeit at higher resolution. The device also captures an ultra-precise laser reproduction of the property known as a point cloud, which is useful for archiving measurements and angles.

Point clouds are now being used in construction to ensure build accuracy, and point cloud registration has been proposed as a way to preserve cultural heritage.

Leica Geosystems partnered with Multivista, a construction documentation service, and Matterpoint, an immersive 3D media technology company, to document Taliesin West.

Matterpoint is the outfit behind those virtual tours that now dominate high-end real estate.

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