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Case Study: 1836 Biscayne Boulevard

Case Study: 1836 Biscayne Boulevard


This case study delves into the ongoing transformation of 1836 Biscayne Boulevard, an esteemed historic church in Miami, as it evolves into a vibrant retail space and will be integrated into a 40-story residential tower. The blog specifically highlights the significant partnership between Existing Conditions and DSS Consultants, emphasizing the critical role of advanced scan data capabilities in surmounting obstacles and achieving outstanding outcomes throughout the redevelopment endeavor.

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Exterior rendering of laser scan data with building information model overlay

History of 1836 Biscayne Boulevard

According to Abandoned Florida, the history of 1836 Biscayne Boulevard is closely tied to the establishment of the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Miami, Florida. Constructed in 1925, this architectural gem served as the spiritual sanctuary for the congregation for several decades. The building itself, designed in the Christian Science traditional style of Neoclassical Revival by prominent Miami architect August Geiger, exemplifies the neoclassical style prevalent during the early 20th century. With its grand entrance, majestic columns, and intricate details, Geiger's design captured the essence of classical Greek and Roman architecture, creating a visually stunning and spiritually inspiring space for worship.

However, as time went on, the fortunes of the church began to wane. Eventually, the First Church of Christ, Scientist relocated to a different location, leaving 1836 Biscayne Boulevard abandoned and in a state of disrepair. Despite its neglected condition, the building's historical significance and architectural beauty had captured the attention of preservationists and local enthusiasts, sparking efforts to revive and restore this once-vibrant symbol of faith and community in Miami.

Interior view of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1926 (image courtesy of State Archives of Florida)


Partnering with DSS Consultants

During the summer of 2022, Existing Conditions’ partnership with DSS Consultants began when Donald Kipnis contacted our sales team with specific questions and project requirements for the redevelopment of 1836 Biscayne Boulevard. Their firm was planning an expansion and renovation, with a particular focus on a section of the building's facade.

Exterior elevation of 1836 Biscayne Boulevard

At the end of August 2022, the deal between Existing Conditions and DSS Consultants had successfully closed and with the agreement just finalized, plans were promptly set in motion for a vital milestone in the project: the eagerly anticipated site visit. Guided by Holly Vaillancourt, our esteemed Director of Operations, Existing Conditions scheduled the necessary fieldwork to document the captivating presence of the historic church at 1836 Biscayne Boulevard for September.

According to Florida YIMBY, this historic site, originally a 17,000-square-foot church, presented an exciting opportunity for transformation. The vision for the project involved converting the structure into a magnificent 40-story residential tower, while also restoring the First Church of Christ, Scientist. The restored church would then be repurposed, offering over 15,000 square feet of vibrant retail space. With approved plans from 2019 already in place, the developers could expedite the planning stages, saving valuable time.


Scope of Work Evolution

The scope of work for the project at 1836 Biscayne Boulevard underwent a remarkable evolution, showcasing the immense value of Existing Conditions' scan data capabilities. As is often the case with new clients, DSS Consultants initially had limited awareness of the extent of information our scans could capture and the advantages they offered.

In September 2022, Existing Conditions scanned approximately 17,000 square feet of this vacant, historic site. To ensure that every detail of this church was captured accurately, the team at Existing Conditions deployed the Leica RTC360 laser scanner as our primary tool. 

Our state-of-the-art Leica RTC360 scanner

During the initial Scan Data Review meeting with the client, Existing Conditions demonstrated the power of our scan data. By sharing our screens, Existing Conditions was able to showcase the detailed and comprehensive information we had already captured. This proved instrumental in expanding the scope of work, particularly in addressing the specific needs of the building's facade. The extensive data collected during our initial site visit proved invaluable, eliminating the need for additional visits and allowing Existing Conditions to extract the necessary measurements and details from the existing scan data. This not only saved time but also valuable resources.

Laser scan data of the exterior; 1836 Biscayne Boulevard

The ability to share our scan data and its capabilities proved to be a pivotal moment in Existing Conditions’ partnership with DSS Consultants. They were impressed by the depth and accuracy of the information we provided, quickly realizing the significant advantage it offered in terms of expanding the project's scope without the need for additional site visits. Existing Conditions delivered a 3D Revit model, floor plans, exterior elevations, reflected ceiling plans, and interior elevations.

Throughout the entire process, Existing Conditions remained dedicated to providing DSS Consultants with the highest level of accuracy and precision. Existing Conditions’ decades of experience and expertise in laser scanning technology and our commitment to quality control measures ensured that the scan data delivered to DSS Consultants was of the utmost reliability.


The Challenge

DSS Consultants encountered a multifaceted challenge when it came to this project, and it resonated with a common issue faced by many of our clients. Before partnering with Existing Conditions, they had limited awareness of the remarkable capabilities and benefits that our advanced scan data solutions could offer.

Had they resorted to traditional hand-measuring methods or relied on outdated paper drawings, DSS Consultants would have faced insurmountable challenges. The sheer intricacy and complexity of the building's design rendered it nearly impossible to capture accurate measurements and details by hand. This limitation would have hindered their ability to plan effectively and make informed decisions for their expansion.

Furthermore, the availability of outdated or incomplete paper drawings added another layer of complexity to the challenge. DSS Consultants needed the most recent and accurate dimensions to ensure the success of their project, but they were lacking a reliable source of precise data.

On-site image of scanning with the Leica RTC360 laser scanner


The Solution

Recognizing the critical nature of the project and the obstacles they faced, DSS Consultants realized the urgent need for a reliable solution that could provide them with comprehensive and accurate information. They understood that partnering with a company possessing advanced technology and expertise in delivering high-quality, accurate data was the key to overcoming these challenges and setting themselves on the path to success. With this realization, they turned to Existing Conditions, renowned for our cutting-edge capabilities and industry-leading expertise, as their trusted partner in navigating the complexities of their project.

Existing Conditions stepped in with our cutting-edge scan data capabilities, providing the perfect solution to DSS Consultants' challenge. By leveraging advanced laser scanning technology, Existing Conditions was able to capture an incredible amount of detail, surpassing what could be achieved through traditional hand measuring methods. The scan data provided a wealth of information, including intricate features like ceiling details, corners, recesses, and the complex geometry of the building.

Laser scan data with building information model overlay

This high level of detail proved invaluable to DSS Consultants' planning and expansion efforts. With the accurate set of drawings and up-to-date measurements provided by Existing Conditions, DSS Consultants had a solid foundation for their project. They no longer had to rely on potentially outdated paper drawings, as the scan data offered the most recent and precise information.



Exterior elevation of 1836 Biscayne Boulevard

The partnership between Existing Conditions and DSS Consultants exemplified the power of advanced technology in overcoming challenges and delivering superior results. By deploying advanced laser scanning technology, Existing Conditions provided DSS Consultants with an accurate and comprehensive dataset, enabling them to make informed decisions and proceed confidently with their expansion plans.


How This Project Was Unique

The project at 1836 Biscayne Boulevard was a truly distinctive endeavor that showcased the unparalleled expertise and capabilities of Existing Conditions. Its uniqueness stemmed from a combination of factors that required a specialized approach to ensure its successful execution.

One remarkable aspect that set this project apart was the extraordinary level of intricacy in the building's geometry. While the client's initial focus was on the facade, it was the ceiling that emerged as the true highlight. The ceiling presented a formidable challenge that went beyond the ordinary demands of modeling. Existing Conditions' dedicated team of elite professionals with specialized knowledge in architectural modeling captured the intricate details of the ceiling, executing the project with precision and finesse.

Another notable aspect that distinguished this project was the exquisite beauty and intricate detail of the ceiling, as revealed in the reflected ceiling plans (RCPs). These RCPs, which captured the stunning design of the ceiling, were a sight to behold and a testament to the meticulous work carried out by Existing Conditions. 

Reflected ceiling plan of laser scan data to model

The ceiling's significance extended beyond its visual appeal. It became a symbol of the unwavering commitment to excellence that permeated the entire project. The meticulous attention to detail in modeling the ceiling exemplified Existing Conditions' exceptional standards and underscored the rarity of the talent required to accurately depict such an architectural masterpiece. This project served as a testament to the team's expertise, dedication, and ability to tackle highly complex challenges head-on.

Interior image of 1836 Biscayne Boulevard

About the Client DSS Consultants

DSS Consultants is a highly respected construction consulting and project management firm in South Florida, founded by construction professional Donald Kipnis. With a remarkable track record of success, DSS brings decades of experience in residential and commercial design and construction to deliver streamlined results and client satisfaction. Their expertise spans notable projects, from iconic landmarks to complex infrastructure developments, showcasing their ability to navigate complexity with sophistication and unwavering confidence.

“We are very impressed with your staff, work product and timeliness. Your professionalism definitely won us over,” - Donald Kipnis, Founder, and CEO of DSS Consultants.

For over 25 years Existing Conditions has stood as the national leader in providing reliable as-built drawings and accurate existing conditions surveys. When you choose Existing Conditions as your trusted partner, you gain access to a world of possibilities. Our unwavering commitment to excellence guarantees that your project will be handled with the utmost expertise, professionalism, and precision. We bring together a team of seasoned professionals who possess an architectural background, allowing us to provide you with the highest quality as-built drawings that are customized to fit your scope.

Contact us today to discuss your project and embark on a remarkable journey of collaboration, partnership, and success. Wherever you are, our expertise knows no bounds. Whether you require accurate measurements for renovation, remodeling, or facility management, our team is equipped to go the distance, ensuring your vision is brought to life with unrivaled accuracy. 


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