Willis/Sears Tower: Shape Study #1

Call it instant gratification, but before I delved into the CityEngine tutorials, I wanted to experiment with modeling a supertall “hero” building. The most simple form I could think of was the Sears/Willis Tower, which is comprised of nine “bundled tubes”.  As seen in Figure 1 and summarized in a Princeton University article, the structural plan consists “of 9 squares, each 75 feet across, placed in a three-by-three grid arrangement”.  Tubes are extruded from these squares and terminated at various heights.  This turned out to be excellent problem on which to improvise.

Figure 1: the “bundled tube” design.(click to see a larger image)

In the first version, I divided the building into five sections, the four floor plates plus the antenna farm on the roof, but I had to write and apply a separate rule for each section (Figure 2). I took two weeks of hard study before I could finally produce the entire, completed shape from a single start rule. (Figure 3)  With this done, I was free to sprinkle Sears Tower shapes all over the landscape.

Figure 2: Floor plates set at proper elevations (left) and then extruded in the “bundled tube” design. (click to see a larger image)

Figure 3: Success: building shapes produced from a single start rule. (click to see a larger image)

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