Branding My Own Supertall Building in CityEngine

A month off to redesign jeffherzer.com, now entirely in WordPress 4.8 running the Velux theme. I’ve been designing web sites from scratch for 20 years, using Dreamweaver/Fireworks for most of that time. The benefits of WP now outweigh the annoyances that come with templates and having to color inside the lines. I’m willing to give up certain design considerations for the ability to use widgets, and since my whole site is media heavy, that will be a huge time saver. WP pages also do well on tablets and they look good enough on my iPhone.

I wanted CityEngine to be part of my new look, and I found the perfect solution after using the City Wizard to generate an International City. There in the scene was a black high rise with setbacks and a façade that looked remarkably like the Willis/Sears Tower, the subject of my first CE experiments in building design and massing.  I increased the height factor to give me a building of over 100 floors (I counted them), created a cube and faced it with my stained-glass branding, worked the cube into the upper floors and put a Sears Tower-looking antenna mast the top.  Tall buildings are part of my professional identity. A supertall building with my logo on it? Perfect!

In my first shape study, using Willis/Sears as the subject, I created a building mass by drawing a single window panel and duplicating it over about 30 floors. On close examination, the façade on my logo-fied International City building looked remarkably the same and I eventually discovered why: the surface image was taken from Sears Tower. It turns out the International City model contains a number of surfacing images taken directly from Chicago buildings.

My interest in CityEngine lies not only with generating urban landscapes based on rules, but with modeling "hero" buildings that give those landscapes a correct sense of place. With tutorials behind me, my next tasks are: to explore the ways individual buildings are modeled with levels of detail to fit the context and purpose of the CityEngine project and; to analyze the CGA code used to generate ESRI's example International City, from which my perfect branding opportunity miraculously sprang.

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