Local modeling

29th Street Townhouses Gone – But Live Thanks to 3D Modeling

They were knocked down earlier this month by Johns Hopkins University, which has acquired them methodically over the past two decades.

Thanks to 3D modeling specialist Taylor Houlihan, however, you can see and experience – virtually – what these 111-year-old structures in Charles Village looked like in their final days.

And not only from photos taken in the street.

Using drone scanning and photogrammetry, Houlihan produced a three-dimensional version of these seven historic townhouses that you can pick up and rotate like a toy.

Townhouses on 29th Street Baltimore by Taylor on Sketchfab

Go to his Sketchfab site and check it out, along with Houlihan’s other 3D models of clothing, landscapes and architecture.

(Baltimore residents will be especially interested to see other local buildings inspired by the model, including the old Waverly City Hall, the Vernon Pumping Station off Wyman Park Drive, and an assortment of former fire stations. of Baltimore.)

Its models even have a virtual reality mode for those set up to use it. (Readers who try it, please report on the experience.)

Houlihan’s drone captured multi-angle views of the West 29th Street block before demolition crews arrived, including an aerial shot showing the completely collapsed roof of one of the units.

While the structure was recovered, Houlihan (who lives in the neighborhood) returned with her drone and continued to capture 360 ​​degree views around her.

With the walls ripped out, his camera captured views of the interiors, exposing the remnants of the lives that once lived there – an old radiator, a small bathroom sink, a pink wall, white paneling along a staircase.

Collapsed roof of one of the townhouses on 29th Street. BELOW: View of West 29th Street townhouses facing northwest. (Taylor Houlihan)

A view of the townhouses on West 29th Street facing northwest.  (Taylor Houlihan)

Porches and Chandeliers

As reported here, here and elsewhere, neighbors and conservationists protested the demolition plan, but Hopkins said the structures were too remote to save. The University has not disclosed any information about the future use of the now vacant land.

After the buildings were reduced to a pile of bricks, debris and toppled white marble steps, a spokeswoman was asked what, if anything, needed to be salvaged from the demolished buildings.

“There was no immediate interest from local businesses in brick or marble,” said Jill Rosen, director of media relations.

But by working with local salvage companies, she said, their contractor saved a lot of other materials. Rosen described it in an email:

Stained glass, doorknobs and hardware, light fixtures, chandeliers, globes and wall sconces, and miscellaneous woodwork, including columns, mantels and fireplace surrounds, and metal fittings, including fireplace covers, exterior metal railings and grilles.

29th street

A townhouse interior during demolition. (Taylor Houlihan)

Rosen was also asked about the damage to trees.

After the chairman of the Baltimore City Forestry Board said while demolition was underway that wrecking crews damaged two mature magnolia trees at the site, Rosen admitted the mistakes.

The contractors, she said, had not followed “a tree protection plan”. The beverage asked to see this plan, but Rosen has not yet provided it.


To The Brew’s request, Houlihan provided still photos of 5-19 West 29th Street, and provided this blurb about herself and her incredible work:

Taylor Houlihan is a Baltimore-based digital modeler with a passion for 3D scanning. She uses photogrammetry to digitize architecture, cultural clothing and landscapes. Through a neighborhood group, she found out that the townhouses at 5-19 West 29th St were going to be demolished by Johns Hopkins University. Reading the impassioned comments on the publication and news articles inspired her to document historic architecture before, during and after its destruction.