Halley Ramos
Ramos completing fieldwork at the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2022). She used 3D scanning to document remnants of a fresco that was discovered in Al Capone’s former jail cell.
2023

Halley Ramos

Architectural Preservationist

Preserving the past in pixels

meet halley

Halley Ramos is a historic preservationist who deploys the latest technologies, such as augmented/virtual reality, 3d scanning/modeling, and computer-based fabrication, for the exploration, restoration, and conservation of cultural heritage. She is a cofounder of SOE, an architecture preservation studio; an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University; and a preservationist at the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. Her work advances preservation through emerging digital tools that deepen our understanding and enrich our experience of places and objects.

Preserving the past in pixels
Nominated by: Alex Borowicz TM'18
Class of 2023 Location New York, USA


My work opens up the ancient and recent past by bringing the 21st century into the field, allowing anyone to experience and learn about cultural heritage via augmented and virtual reality—whether through a computer screen or by walking through a virtual installation of a historic site. By making history accessible, while continuing to innovate along the way, my work has made important contributions by allowing anyone to explore via VR, while also training local communities to do this highly technical work themselves. For example, in a recent project with the International Committee of the Red Cross, I trained local photographers in Syria, Iraq, and Palestine to 3D scan significant urban sites that have been devastated by conflict. The data provide an immersive virtual tour experience to bring awareness to the impact of urban warfare on civilians.

“By making history accessible, while continuing to innovate along the way, my work has made important contributions by allowing anyone to explore via VR, while also training local communities to do this highly technical work themselves.”

- Halley Ramos


After graduating, I started SOE, an architectural preservation studio, with my colleague André Jauregui, to develop and test new approaches for documenting and preserving cultural heritage. We’ve taken a tech-based approach to expand accessibility and interest in the exploration of historic sites, as well as to communicate history to advocate for social justice.

My research and practice expand beyond the digital realm, where I also use 3D scanning technologies to facilitate the physical replication and reproduction of damaged, missing, and stolen artifacts and architectural elements. I believe that emerging digital tools inform a new paradigm of preservation that deepens our understanding and enriches our experience of sites and objects. My aim is to advance cultural heritage preservation through innovative technology.

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