Have you ever returned to a neighborhood or town that you moved away from years earlier and started to feel discombobulated when the small changes start to jump out at you? Certainly the major landmarks remain, but the old grocery store is now a thrift shop, the donut shop on the corner is now a Burger King, or the old apartment building is now a row of shiny new condos.
Cities are living, breathing organisms that are constantly in motion, constantly growing, and ever-changing. And we never really notice how much they change until we see them from a different perspective. Either from a prolonged absence or, perhaps, from a perspective far larger than we’re generally used to viewing our city from.
A new installation called The New London Model is an interactive, 1:2,000 scale model of the metropolitan city of London that combines over 170,000 3D printed buildings with interactive video and other mixed media. It is intended to track the evolution of 19 of the massive city’s boroughs and districts. Visitors can trace the growth of the city from 2005 until 2015. And they can even look beyond the present day using films and touchscreens to see how the 263 buildings currently being planned or constructed will change the shape of the city in the years to come.
The changes to the city were tracked by Public London exhibition, who kept tabs on the various major building projects and the people who initiated them over the last decade. The New London Model exhibit is being hosted by New London Architecture, an organization that tracks the growth of London and helps plan and develop changes to the city.
“The really interesting thing about models like this is they really illustrate the proximity of areas like Old Oak Common. It changes your mental map of the city and it allows you to understand the way the city is shaped, ” said NLA chairman Peter Murray. ‘While London’s public realm has clearly come a long way in 10 years, there is still a lot to be done.”
The huge city model is over 40 feet long and represents a total of 53 square miles of greater London. It extends from King’s Cross station up in the north of the city down to Peckham in the south, from the Royal Docks in the east over to Old Oak Common in the west. It also incorporates many of the city’s major transportation routes and will show how new expansions of the rail system will impact the city.
Each building was individually 3D printed and placed based on the city’s public Ordnance Survey by architectural model and design firm Pipers Models. They are one of the largest and most well-regarded modelmaking companies in the world, and have worked with clients as diverse as Ferrari, Burbury, the London Underground, the city of Abu Dhabi, and the Olympic Park Legacy Company.
The installation was planned out, designed, and painstakingly recreated over a period of five months. Pipers will be updating the piece twice each year to make sure that the evolving city model is constantly up to date. The model is currently open to the public, with the complete interactive portions of the model being launched on May 20th.
Would you like to see a large scale model of your city or town? How quickly do you think your city is growing in comparison to London? Let us know what you think over on the Interactive 3D Printed Model of London forum thread over on 3DPB.com.