About the Project

More than half a century ago, Charles Follen McKim’s greatest project, Pennsylvania Station, was destroyed. Its demolition was noted by architectural historians as one of the greatest architectural crimes in American history. McKim’s spectacular adaptation of Roman public baths to modern transportation exemplified the epitome of the Beaux-Arts. The contrast between the cream-colored
travertine of Imperial Rome and steel-and-glass of 19th-century Paris proved that tradition and modernity were not in conflict, but in fact complemented each other.

This project offers a fresh perspective to the understanding of the history and architecture of the
Pennsylvania Station with the aid of Historical Building Information Modeling (HBIM). The project consists of a virtual experience that re-creates the procession along 32nd Street beginning at the pedestrian vestibule, through the Arcade, the General Waiting Room, and ending at the


The 360-degree panoramas were rendered in V-Ray for AutoDesk 3Ds Max. The model is built in Rhinoceros and is based on archival research on the McKim, Mead & White Architectural Records at New-York Historical Society; the Adolph Alexander Weinman papers at the Archives of
American Art of the Smithsonian Institution; correspondence in the Pennsylvania Railroad archives at the Hagley Museum and Library; and plates from the Monographs of McKim, Mead
& White, published by the firm. Additional archival research was conducted at Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. To infer the dimensions of less documented spaces and
classical detailing, Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola’s treatises inform the modeling process. Since the architects derived much of the geometry from Roman imperial architecture, other authorities of the Renaissance are ignored. The plates in Franz Sales Meyer’s Handbook of Ornament informed the
detail enrichment.

About José Hernández

José received a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Design and Architectural Studies from NYU in 2019, followed by a Master of Science degree in Historic Preservation in 2022 with a concentration in architectural conservation. As a graduate student, he completed a virtual reconstruction of McKim, Mead & White’s old Pennsylvania Station. He received a Stanford White Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art for this work in 2020. His visualisation on the skyline of Billionaire’s Row has been featured in major newspapers, including Guardian, the New York Times, and the New York Post. He currently serves as a student liaison with the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) Northeast Chapter and is a lab manager at the Architectural Conservation Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania.