By Logan Hesse
I got my Godzilla on this morning. I loomed above 115 square blocks of the city, master of all that I surveyed, the tallest skyscrapers mere playthings in my hands. This rare opportunity to live out a long-running Kaiju fantasy came courtesy of Autodesk, as the company unveiled the largest 3D printed city model of its kind (suck it, LA). The project, commissioned by real estate developer Tishman Speyer, used a digital model built over the last few years by design firm Steelblue and was printed on two Objet Connex 500 3D printers at Autodesk’s Pier 9 facility. (The scale of the approximately 6x6 model is 1:1250. The tallest building is the Salesforce Tower at about 10.25 inches.)
Placed beneath a projector, the model allows a level of data visualization with a great deal more tactility than is possible with pure digital models. The idea is to allow city planners to more accurately visualize the effects of new structures including the Transbay Transit Center, the SalesForce Tower, and the proposed Central Subway Muni Line. Such effects include sunlight and shadow effects, potential traffic effects, and a vast increase in the number of pink plastic bags at Muni stations.
This version of the model will remain with Tishman Speyer but a second print is in the works that will debut at Design Night before being put on display at the Autodesk Gallery. Unfortunately, the thing cost several grand so, while you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the city circa 2017, they’ll probably take a dim view of you stomping around on it while screaming that you’re Godzilla. Damn.
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Images courtesy of Autodesk