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Lasers and History! 3D laser scanning the endangered 1964 World’s Fair New York State Pavilion for digital preservation.
Lasers and History! 3D laser scanning the endangered 1964 World’s Fair New York State Pavilion for digital preservation.
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121 backers pledged $15,742 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$15,742

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ABOUT THE PROJECT

This project is a collaboration between the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation & Training and non-profit CyArk to digitally preserve a National Treasure, the 1964-65 World’s Fair New York State Pavilion, as commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller and designed by influential architect Philip Johnson. The digital preservation will occur with high-speed, high-precision 3D laser scanners. And all resulting 3D data will be made freely available to the public.

We have the technology.  We have the expertise.  We have the permissions.

Now, we need your help to fund the field work.

New York Pavilion, 1964 (Photo courtesy of Bill Cotter)
New York Pavilion, 1964 (Photo courtesy of Bill Cotter)

The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair (NYWF), with over 51 million attendees, was the last of the ‘great’ Fairs held in the United States. For the price of a $2.00 admissions ticket, a Fairgoer could glimpse into the nation’s history, discover art from around the world, view advances in science and technology and peer into the future, all in one compact locale. Many of the technologies we enjoy today, or the foundations that made them possible, were showcased at the 1964-65 NYWF. Dramatic examples of “tomorrow’s” architecture could also be found –for example, the Bell System Pavilion’s “Floating Wing” and the slanting canopy of the General Motors Pavilion. But no pavilion beckoned to the future more than the New York State Pavilion with its “Tent of Tomorrow” and observation towers that could have served as a home to George Jetson and family.

New York State Pavilion Observation Towers, 1964 (Photo courtesy of Bill Cotter)
New York State Pavilion Observation Towers, 1964 (Photo courtesy of Bill Cotter)
New York State Pavilion, 1964 (Photo courtesy of Bill Cotter)
New York State Pavilion, 1964 (Photo courtesy of Bill Cotter)

Designed by noted 20th Century American Architect Philip Johnson, the New York State Pavilion welcomed the world to New York. The Three components that comprised the Pavilion – the Tent of Tomorrow, Astro-View Towers, and Theaterama – showcased all that the State of New York had to offer. While the pavilion was designated as one of only a handful that would remain upon the Fair’s close in October 1965, its future use was still uncertain. The Tent of Tomorrow served briefly as a roller rink with skaters gliding over the pavilion’s massive terrazzo map depicting New York State. As the 1970s wore on, the Tent of Tomorrow’s colorful fiberglass roof panels were removed, leaving the area open to the elements. The abandoned Astro-View Towers became little more than a navigational signpost, signaling to drivers along the Long Island Expressway that the exit to the Grand Central Parkway was fast approaching. Time and weather have assisted in deteriorating aspects of the once grand structure, and it was added to the World’s Mouments Fund watch list in 2008. Debate continues to cloud the Pavilion’s ultimate fate. Should it be demolished at an estimated cost of $14 million or restored and re-purposed for $52 million? A group of dedicated citizens are seeking the latter. In April 2014, the New York State Pavilion was named a ‘National Treasure’ by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The New York State Pavilion today (Photo courtesy Lori Walters)
The New York State Pavilion today (Photo courtesy Lori Walters)

Digitally preserving the New York State Pavilion with 3D laser scanning can create an accurate record to serve as a base data set to aid conservation and future restoration. It will take our joint UCF and CyArk team five (5) days to 3D map the steel and concrete ruins of the Pavilion’s Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow.

We have the technology. We have the expertise. Will you help us?

The field work to record the Pavilion in 3D is scheduled for early June. The team will record the remains of the New York State Pavilion’s Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow. If time allows, the team will also capture the Pavilion’s Theaterama to complete the context of the 3D data set (the Theaterama remains in use as the Queens Theater and has thus been maintained).

The meticulously detailed, and millimetrically accurate 3D data can be translated into three-dimensional architectural drawings and models for conservators to plan restoration efforts.

Additionally, the processed 3D data will be made freely available to the public for personal, educational, and scientific research uses. See an example of a 3D model of rock art in Somaliland created from laser scan data. 

WHERE WILL THE FUNDS GO? 

The basic pledge goal for the project will fund travel, accommodation, and food for the documentation field team as well as basic first-step data processing to tie the 5 days’ worth of data into a complete, holistic 3D data set of the Pavilion. Additionally, CyArk will archive the data in perpetuity in its secure on-site and off-site data archives. 

Stretch Goals: 

$25,000+ This amount will allow for the development of conservation-related deliverables from the data to aid restoration work. For example, architectural drawings and 3D models. NYC Parks & Rec’s conservators will be consulted with to be sure useful, needed tools are developed. 

$40,000+ The second stretch goal will cover additional data processing to create a collection of multimedia: animated videos of the 3D data, perspective images, high-quality photo-real 3D models, and more to be publicly available via the CyArk and UCF IST websites. 

 $55,000+ The third stretch goal will allow for the development of a mobile app of a virtual tour created from the data. The app will also be donated to the Queens Museum in the form of a tablet-based touch-screen kiosk. The app will be sold to the general public for a nominal fee to support the monumental restoration costs, however all backers over $100 will be given a promo code to receive the app for free.

MEET THE TEAM

The joint data capture team will be composed of two professors from UCF, one UCF staff member, and one specialist from CyArk. 

Founded in 1982, UCF’s Institute for Simulation & Training (IST) is an internationally recognized research institute focused on advancing modeling and simulation technology and increasing our understanding of simulation’s role in training and education. UCF has previously worked with the Queens Museum to develop “ChronoLeap: the Great World’s Fair Adventure”, a 3D interactive environment using STEM education methods and showcasing the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. UCF’s IST is also one of CyArk’s Technology Center partners.

CyArk is the global leader in the digital preservation of our collective human story as represented by our built cultural heritage. Spurred by the Taliban's destruction of the 1600-year-old Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, CyArk was founded in 2003 to ensure heritage sites are available to future generations, while making them uniquely accessible today. CyArk operates internationally as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission of using new technologies to create a free, 3D online library of the world's cultural heritage sites before they are lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression or ravaged by the passage of time. You can also watch our founder's TED talk:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to thank the following for their valuable assistance:

BACKER REWARDS

Example of a perspective image (Rapa Nui)
Example of a perspective image (Rapa Nui)
Example of a transition image (Mount Rushmore)
Example of a transition image (Mount Rushmore)
Mint condition Child's admission ticket to 1964-65 New York World's Fair
Mint condition Child's admission ticket to 1964-65 New York World's Fair
Example of laser-engraved crystal cube for Crystal Pledge (cube will be engraved with 3D data of the Pavilion’s Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow)
Example of laser-engraved crystal cube for Crystal Pledge (cube will be engraved with 3D data of the Pavilion’s Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow)

Original project header image by Flickr user calestyo; modified and re-used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0. 

Risks and challenges

When it comes to 3D laser scanning, the biggest risks are (a) weather and (b) equipment malfunction/failure.

If adverse weather affects the documentation, the crew will extend its stay in NY to ensure complete capture of the Pavilion's towers and tent.

There will be multiple scanners on site and both UCF and CyArk have strong support from the scanner manufacturers. Should a malfunction occur that is severe enough to jeopardize on-time completion of data capture, our extensive network of partner organizations* will be tapped to replace the equipment quickly.

*http://archive.cyark.org/partners

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    One (1) digital copy of a perspective image of the 3D data, and Backer’s name listed as a Kickstarter funder on the project’s web portal on the CyArk website.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    The Digital Collection: One (1) digital copy of a perspective image of the 3D data PLUS one (1) digital copy of a "transition" composite image showing a historic view of the Pavilion blending into the 3D data, and Backer’s name listed as a Kickstarter funder on the project’s web portal on the CyArk website.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    One (1) 8"x10" print of the perspective image of the 3D data, and Backer’s name listed as a Kickstarter funder on the project’s web portal on the CyArk website.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    The Prints Collection: One (1) 8"x10" pint of the perspective image of the 3D data PLUS one (1) 8”x10” print of the transition composite, and Backer’s name listed as a Kickstarter funder on the project’s web portal on the CyArk website.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    One (1) poster. Choice of the perspective image or transition image, and Backer’s name on the project’s portal on the CyArk website.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    The Collector's Pledge: One (1) original, mint condition child's admission ticket from the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, and Backer’s name on the project’s portal on the CyArk website. Original child’s admission ticket generously donated by Dr. Lori Walters of UCF, our project collaborator, from her private collection.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    The Wearable Pledge: One (1) t-shirt of the transition image, and Backer’s name on the project’s portal on the CyArk website.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    One (1) t-shirt of the transition image PLUS one (1) poster, choice of perspective or transition image, and Backer’s name on the project’s portal on the CyArk website.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    The Image Collection: One (1) t-shirt of the transition image, PLUS one (1) 8"x10" print of the perspective image, one (1) 8"x10" print of the transition image, one (1) poster, choice of perspective or transition image, one (1) digital copy of the perspective image, one (1) digital copy of the transition image, and Backer’s name on the project’s portal on the CyArk website.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Crystal Pledge: One (1) laser-engraved crystal cube of the 3D laser scan point cloud data of the Pavilion’s Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow, and Backer’s name on the project’s portal on the CyArk website.

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    Pledge $625 or more About $625

    The Gotta-Catch-Em-All Pledge: One of everything above! (One crystal cube, one t-shirt, one poster, one 8”x10” print of each image, one digital copy of each image, Backer’s name on the project portal on the CyArk website.)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The Be-There Pledge: Visit the data capture team on-site in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, NY for lunch with the team during field work, and Backer’s name on the project’s portal on the CyArk website. Backer must provide own transportation and accommodation. Field work tentatively scheduled for the week of June 2-6.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    The Join-In Pledge: Spend the day on-site in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, NY with the data capture team, receive a tour from UCF's expert on the World's Fair, PLUS receive an introduction to 3D laser scanning, join the team for dinner, and Backer’s name on the project’s portal on the CyArk website. Backer must provide own transportation and accommodation. Field work tentatively scheduled for the week of June 2-6.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    The Ultimate World's Fair Fan Pledge: One (1) pristine condition, original, authentic World's Fair House of Formica Pavilion table. PLUS five (5) original, mint condition child's admission ticket from the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. PLUS One of everything else! (One crystal cube, one t-shirt, one poster, one 8”x10” print of each image, one digital copy of each image.), and special recognition on the CyArk website. Original child’s admission ticket and a table (won at the House of Formica's weekly giveaway) generously donated by Dr. Lori Walters of UCF, our project collaborator, from her private collection.

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Funding period

- (22 days)