Willis/Sears Tower: Shape Study #2

I will say at the outset this is NOT the way to construct a “hero” building in CityEngine. My goal here was to produce a quick-and-dirty, detailed visualization of the Willis/Sears Tower form generated from the smallest components, window panels within the facade. It turns out this was good thinking, as CityEngine building models are often developed after breaking down a building’s surface features and splitting the model’s faces accordingly.

  • The window panel component (Figure 1) was created by taking a thin 15×15 foot primitive cube and using the split function to divide it into seven along the x-axis and into three along the y axis. Portions representing windows were given 100% transparency.
  • Two thin, 225 x 225-foot floor plates (75 feet per square times 3) were drawn and spaced vertically 15 feet apart. This is the size of floor plates on the bottom 50 floors. Window panels were laid along the perimeter and maneuvered into place using the positioning tools. Window washer rail components were then drawn by hand and laid flush against the facade layer at the edge of the floor plates and at 75-foot/5 window panel intervals between them. This was the last step in creating one instance of a lower floor (Figure 2).
  • To quickly build structure mass, all components in the single floor were copied, pasted and stacked. The finished product is a visualization representing the lowest block of office floors (Figure 3).

This left me with at least a sense of what is possible when using CityEngine to design greatly detailed, large structures — maybe not a typical use of the app given it’s emphasis on entire city scapes, but certainly doable,

Figure 1: Window panel section modeled from photos. (click to view a larger image)
Figure 2: One instance of a lower floor. (click to view a larger image)


Figure 3: Massed floor sections give a glimpse of a finished product  (click to view a larger image)

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