June 28, 2023

“The reality capture industry is one that is both cutting edge technologically, while remaining simple in its motivation. As long as humans have walked on this earth, we have been documenting our surroundings for a variety of purposes; laser scanning technology is the latest iteration of this practice, combining astounding accuracy with breathtaking beauty. Showcasing this technology and introducing it to others is what we're all about.

That's why working on the Hillside Project with the team from Unreal Engine, Epic Games, Capturing Reality, Safdie Architects, and Neoscape was so exciting for us, as the complex geometry of Habitat 67 challenged us to make use of all of our tools from Leica Geosystems part of Hexagon and Scan&Go, pushing them to their limits.” – R-E-A-L.iT



Habitat 67 was the perfect project to explore the limits of reality capture technologies. Built in 1967, this complex is a radical hybrid of the suburban single-family home and the urban apartment building. Designed by Moshe Safdie, Habitat 67 was built to provide housing for hundreds of families, while simultaneously breaching the limits of architectural imagination. By partnering with Epic Games, Unreal Engine, Capturing Reality, Safdie Architects, and Neoscape, R-E-A-L.iT provided the tools and expertise needed to create a complete 3D model and realize the full vision of the project.

How Reality Capture Was Used

When collaborating with Epic Games, R-E-A-L.iT was interested in how reality capture tools and software would handle the complex design of Habitat 67. The structure is a kind of mosaic with concrete modules and irregular geometric piles. With a need to capture the intricacies of the modular design for historical and cultural preservation, a focused vision, the right equipment, and team of professionals was required. 

After composing a strategic plan for reality capture, Leica Geosystems scanners were used to create accurate and detailed depictions of Habitat 67’s structure. An assortment of laser scanner devices were utilized, including terrestrial and mobile scanners to create a high-density, accurate point cloud structure of the entire area and its surrounding features. Some of the key pieces of equipment included the P50 for its high accuracy in such extreme ranges, and the RTC360 that ensured proper imaging speeds for this large project. Because of the many small module living spaces, the BLK360 proved very helpful to capture tight spaces.

In addition to collecting an array of laser scans from hundreds of on-site locations, mobile-mapping technology like the BLK2GO, provided supplementary data to cover any nooks or crevices that the terrestrial scanners may have missed. With staggered floors creating hundreds of different levels, the full scope of R-E-A-L.iT’s technologies was needed to capture every external area. 

After collecting the comprehensive scan profile of Habitat 67, cutting-edge visualization software was used to process all of the scans. Once the scans were aligned and put together, it was simple to integrate into RealityCapture from Epic Games where a final combined 3D model was generated. 

The Future of Reality Capture Is Endless

Despite the project's complexity and unique challenges, R-E-A-L.iT and Epic Games successfully completed this collaborative endeavor. The result is a meticulously detailed 3D model of Habitat 67, showcasing its iconic presence in Montreal's skyline and offering endless possibilities for various applications. This real-world demonstration of reality capture's power ensures that future generations can study and learn from this architectural masterpiece. It is a testament to the limitless potential of this technology.

Get in Touch with R-E-A-L.iT

To learn more about the limitless possibilities of reality capture for your projects, book a demo with one of our EXPERTS@R-E-A-L.iT today. With a variety of laser scanners and visualization software, you have the technology to excel far beyond your goals. Our team can provide guidance in selecting the right equipment and software for your specific needs.

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