The iconic Sydney Opera House is to be digitally recreated for future generations by a team of 3D scanning and visualisation experts from Scotland. The virtual 3D rendition is to be the fourth international site to be digitally scanned by the Scottish Ten team.

Scottish Ten project

The Scottish Ten project is a partnership between the Scottish Government’s Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio, with assistance from digital heritage organisation CyArk. The team is using cutting-edge documentation and visualisation technology to digitally record all five of Scotland’s world heritage sites and five international sites.

Virtual access to inaccessible areas

According to a press release from Historic Scotland, the ambitious 5-year scanning project will create a digital archive of sites that will help with maintenance and conservation, as well as provide virtual access to areas that are often inaccessible.

“This will be the most detailed digital recording of the Opera House ever attempted. It will present entirely new challenges for the Scottish Ten team, who have already completed projects at vast and complex sites in the USA and India and will soon visit China,” says Cabinet Secretary for Scottish Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop.

Sites scanned

The team will be scanning the Eastern Qing Tombs, part of the Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties World Heritage Site in Beijing. Other sites recorded in the project so far include:

  • Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • the St Kilda ruins
  • the Heart of Neolithic Orkney
  • New Lanark’s 18th century mills
  • the presidential heads at Mount Rushmore in the United States
  • Rani Ki Vav, the Queen’s Stepwell in India.

Sydney Opera House

“[The Sydney Opera House] is by far the most modern building to be included in the Scottish Ten project and is a contrast to the castles, mills, tombs, Neolithic settlements, wells and sculptures that have come before it – but it will be a fascinating addition and will further push the team’s skills and expertise.”

Australian heritage minister Tony Burke says the Scottish Ten project will provide extraordinary insights into one of Australia’s most well known buildings “and provide invaluable information and perhaps a new way of looking at the place”.

Useful link

Find out more about the Scottish Ten project.

Activity idea

Watch Dr Adrian Dorrington as he explains the basic concepts behind 3D technology and how our brains help us see 3D.

    Published 5 February 2013