A week ago I was down for a few days with the latest viral crud (not COVID-19, thankfully), so I had plenty of time to model…
I decided to work up an idea that had come to me. Since then, I learned that this concept can be described as a 15-minute city - the idea that one can reach just about any part of the city by walking 15 minutes.
Here’s a top-down view of one of my most massive models to date:
I located this model in western Illinois, near the Mississippi River. The structure is surrounded by farmland, providing locally-sourced produce for use by city residents, and enhancing the sustainability of the city. Solar panels are planned for much of the rooftop space, to help provide for the energy needs of the public spaces.
In this model, aesthetics are secondary to community. Here’s the city program:
The orange structure in the center is the city administration, including public safety (police, fire, etc.). At the top is a domed auditorium for public hearings.
The 13 green structures are vertical parks, with 36 levels and balconies.at each level above the first.
The 2 blue-gray structures are office towers, each with 48 levels, 6 levels of parking and over 3 million square feet of space.
The 14 red structures are apartment stacks, each with 30 levels of apartments in 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom configurations. In total there are 9,240 residences to house more than 34,000 people. On one side of each stack are retail spaces for shops and cafes, totaling nearly 5 million square feet of commercial space. In the center of each stack is a large light well, allowing sunlight down to the staggered balconies of the apartments. These apartment levels are built up over 6-level parking structures for the tenants and visitors.
The 3 yellow structures are entertainment venues - on the east side is the stadium and on the west side are two performing arts complexes for theatrical productions and music concerts.
The idea here is that the city would be largely free from private vehicles. The residents would be able to take elevators or stairs between levels and could walk along sidewalks for a few blocks to get to wherever they were going. The streets would have public trams for those who need them. And there are bike lanes along each street in the grid, totalling more than a million and a half feet or 309 miles of bikeway.
Here’s a view from the North:
2 Feeder roads lead to the north and south sides of the city. Each one is split into entry and exit lanes. Vehicle traffic can enter the bottom 3 levels of the city and make their way to a parking structure. Ramps within the parking structures allow movement between levels and access to the 3 upper levels. Deliveries from suppliers to the retail stores would come here as well. The ramps clinging to the sides of the city allow the public trams to move between levels.
As mentioned above, this is a massive model containing component definitions with more than 1.2 million component instances, encompassing more than 30 million faces, painted with 33 different textures. Seven structures were modelled separately and the brought together into this one model. Great care was taken to manage the performance load on SketchUp, and even then I needed to leave off some details in order to be sure I could complete the model.
I learned that it isn’t the size of the file that matters so much for performance as the complexity of the geometry that SketchUp must render. The file size of this model is 20.5MB; whereas I have other models up to 240MB which actually have better performance!