Linde + Robinson Laboratory for Global Environmental Science

Constructed in 1935, The Henry M. Robinson Laboratory of Astrophysics was renovated to house the Linde + Robinson Laboratory for Global Environmental Science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California.

Cannon was selected to provide 3D scanning and modeling services for the Linde + Robinson Laboratory Renovation Project. The scope of the work included a 3D laser scan survey and modeling of the interior floors, walls, and ceilings for the sub-basement, basement, ground floor, first floor, second floor, and rooms on the roof and roof deck.

As part of the high-speed, high-resolution scanning process, Cannon established horizontal and vertical control points within the building interior and tied this into existing data. We also prepared a project database listing and region definitions exhibit for the project. After collecting the data, Cannon used the scanned information to create a comprehensive 3D model of the structure using Navisworks software. Caltech’s renovation design team based their design on this model and reviewed the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems.

The design team was able to use clash detection systems to find conflicts between design and the existing structure. For example, new HVAC piping was designed to be installed at a certain height, but clash detection indicated that the proposed improvement interfered with the existing structure. The design team was able to address the clash in the software, comment, and redline directly over the 3D model and conceptual plan. This real-time design review saved significant costs to the project by reducing the time and effort needed to complete reviews and identify needed design revisions.

The renovation included all five floors of the original building. Many of the original features of the building were restored, including the first-floor corridor, library, offices on the upper floors, basement laboratories, exit stairwell, and exterior features. As a result, the facility provides state-of-the-art laboratories for geochemistry, microbiology, and atmospheric and oceanic sciences.

The renovation established Linde + Robinson as the Nation’s most energy-efficient science laboratory and the first laboratory in a historic building to merit Platinum LEED Designation.


Pasadena, California

Key Elements

  • 3D Scanning & Modeling
  • Horizontal and Vertical Control Points
  • Project Database
  • Clash Detection Systems
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