A Digital Twin of Central in 3D
From Ruben Duran
For the commemoration of HCC's 50 Anniversary, in partnership with SKANSKA Inc., students in the Architectural Engineering COE will learn to use lidar and photogrammetry technology on the recreation of Central's digital twin using industry-standard Autodesk apps and drone technology.
Located in a quiet part of Midtown on the edge of the Museum District, Houston Community College’s scenic Central Campus rewards the curious visitor with architectural eye candy and local history. Leading to the dominating Doric columns of the San Jacinto Memorial Building, a classical revival and art deco masterwork that would be a welcomed addition to any top-tier institution, is a timeline walkway chronicling the building’s evolution as home to six different educational institutions over its 100-plus years, briefly include the University of Houston.
Before HCC took up permanent residence, the building was San Jacinto High School from 1926 to 1971. Part of the building’s recent $60-million restoration pays tribute to the school and its alumni, whose ranks include Walter Cronkite, with fact-filled placards at the main entrance and an encased showroom of “San Jac” memorabilia on the second floor. A walk around the building’s exterior reveals preserved art deco, bas-relief panels, fountains, and decorative flourishes missing from modern high schools, like the large medallions of football, basketball, and track and field athletes bordering the attached gymnasium.
A historical marker out in front of the college’s Heinen Theatre, formerly Temple Beth Israel, reminds sightseers of its religious past. In 1925, Texas’ oldest Jewish congregation build the temple to accommodate its growing numbers. Designed by a fellow member and prominent architect Joseph Finger, the synagogue’s art deco architecture also features Middle Eastern elements, such as the preserved symbols inlaid on the portico.
The new buildings also marry the old. The plain brick rear façade of the Learning HUB blends in with the brick of the temple across the walkway, while the front top-to-bottom glass reflects the San Jacinto Memorial Building, adding to its dramatic appearance.