"The Awakening" Sculpture

3D Laser Scanning and Digital Modeling Allow Precise Repositioning

Projects - The Awakening Sculpture

“The Awakening” is a 70-foot tall sculpture by J. Seward Johnson, which depicts a man struggling to free himself from the Earth. The installation, which had been a landmark for nearly three decades in DC’s Hains Point, is comprised of five aluminum body parts: a right foot, a left knee, a right arm, a left hand, and a bearded face. It was originally installed in 1980 and became a well recognized attraction next to the Potomac. It had been on loan to the U.S. Park Service by the artist.

But by 2007, the piece was sold to a developer and it became necessary for the sculpture to be moved.

Moving the sculpture and re-installing it in its intended orientation proved to be a true logistical and spatial challenge. Jon Lash, CEO of Digital Atelier, called upon Direct Dimensions to find an affordable and accurate solution to document “The Awakening” in its exact current state and provide him with a 3D plot showing the intersections of the mating surface of the sculpture with the ground. The plots would then be used to prepare the new site to receive the sculpture in its original configuration.

In November, 2007, 52 scans of the sculpture were taken on-site in Hains Point, both with the Konica Minolta Vivid 9i camera, and with the Trimble FX scanner. A spherical scanner like the Trimble FX captures everything in its line of sight, radiating outward from the scanner’s origin. In the scanning process, the sculpture was approached as five individual pieces, with the scanner capturing each individual piece in its entirety, as well as some of the surrounding pieces. This setup allowed the Direct Dimensions team to reassemble all the pieces together in a single coordinated model, using PolyWorks software. Each scan was scrubbed to pinpoint only the data set required, then properly aligned and polygonized into an integral model.

The final deliverables to Digital Atelier were complete 2D and 3D plots, which showed the entire sculpture aligned into a single coordinate system. These plots allowed the project’s engineers to prepare the new site for the sculpture’s relocation, which occurred on February 19th, 2008. “The Awakening” now rests in its intended orientation at National Harbor, on the Eastern Bank of the Potomac River.