Photogrammetry of Ruins

Rosewell Ruins

Rosewell Ruins

In 2005 While I was running the digital documentation studio for Frazier Associates I enjoyed working on this challenging project for the Rosewell Foundation.  My task was to create accurate, architectural documentation of the  remaining masonry walls of this once grand house on the York river in Gloucester County, Virginia. You can read more about the house here.

Documenting ruins is a little different than a standing building.  The goal is less about presenting a description of building in its “platonic essence” and more about presenting it as it actually is at this moment in time.  Capturing the way a wall, tower, or chimney is leaning becomes rather important!  To this end, I prepared the building prior to the photo shoot by fixing special targets that could establish a level datum line (using a laser level).

Rosewell Documentation (interior sufaces)

Rosewell Documentation (interior sufaces)

The drawings and photographs produced for this project were used by architects Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker to create a “Blueprint for the Preservation of the Ruins at Rosewell” which consisted of a history, an structural analysis, an archaeological report, and stabilization plan.

Rosewell Ruins (exterior surfaces)

Rosewell Documentation (exterior surfaces)

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One response to “Photogrammetry of Ruins

  1. These ruins, of one of the finest mansions built in the colonies, sits on the banks of Carter’s Creek(York River) in Gloucester County, Virginia. Begun in 1725, Rosewell was home to the Page family for more than 100 years. John Page, grandson of the builder Mann Page I(who died before the house was completed), attended William and Mary with Jefferson; and it was here that the two young patriots first began to explore what lay ahead for the emerging nation in which they would play such an important role.

    Though slightly changed by a later owner(a sloped roof replacing the original flat roof, and one of the two large cupolas(lookouts) were removed), and ravaged by time and economic hardships, Rosewell was still regarded as a place of grandeur and importance. Through the lean years following the Civil War, parties and dances continued in the Great Hall. Finally, in 1916, a tragic fire swept the mansion leaving a magnificent shell which is testament to 18th century craftsmanship and dreams.

    What remains are the four chimneys, the east wall with its regal compasshead window complete with carved keystone, the wine cellar, and enough of the walls that one may sense the proportion and scale of this unique structure. The Page family was buried on the property but their ornate large coffin-style headstones were removed to nearby Abbington Episcopal Church for preservation. The fourth and last family to own Rosewell donated the ruins site to the Gloucester Historical Society in 1979. Since 1995, the Rosewell Foundation has taken on the mission of preserving, studying, and presenting this historic ruin.

    Rosewell was the largest mansion of it’s time(18th century) in the colonies- three stories tall plus a large cellar made it virturally FOUR stories tall- including two large cuopula(lookout) rooms on the roof!

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