Every Building tells a Story: The Historic Union Terminal in Cincinnati

Steve Kenat

Cincinnati Ohio’s Union Terminal is an Art Deco masterpiece from 1931, a National Historic Landmark, and home to Cincinnati Museum Center. In crafting a plan for documentation and analyzing the condition of this 500,000sf structure, GBBN Architects undertook latest laser-scanning documentation and investigative research of both the exterior and interior of the building. The point-cloud generated from the laser-scans, and its integration into a Revit-based model of the building, has been an invaluable design and documentation tool for the entire design and engineering team. 

Initially constructing a Revit model using 1930 documents and subsequent interventions, then applying point-cloud data, the design & engineering team has been able to identify movement variations in building façades, attributing causes of damage and methodologies for repair. In determining the best means of preserving the building, we have uncovered unique stories about its evolution and its meaningfulness to the culture of Cincinnati.

Armed with this amazing technology for coordination, collaboration, and presentation, our team is going about preserving the building façade and envelope; restoring significant spaces, artifacts and finishes; replacing all environmental and electrical systems; and to remake the experience of Cincinnati Museum Center to serve as a new destination for memories for future generations.
GBBN’s Director of Community Development and Project Executive of Union Terminal Revitalization Steve Kenat and Preservation Architect John G. Waite of John G. Waite Associates presented this case study at the AIA Ohio Convention. Click here to see the presentation.