San Francisco's skyline is a-changing a lot, with massive new developments going up all over Market Street's main drag and squeezing in downtown. The pace is fast enough that it's tough to imagine what it will look like next week, much less next year, but a close look at this oversized 3D-printed model is like an urban crystal ball—it was made to predict SF's basic infrastructure in the not-so-distant future of 2017.
The project, which covers a sprawling 115 real-life blocks in a scaled four-by-six foot grid (and is the largest of its kind), is a collaboration between developer Tishman Speyer, creative agency Steelblue, and Autodesk, which constructed the structure at its Pier 9 fabrication workshop.
Using a combo of photogammetry, planning info, and architectural drawings, the team now has a customizable grid that can be updated as projects are proposed, scrapped, built, or torn down. "We can swap in buildings or entire city blocks to explore design options and to keep the model up to date in rapidly evolving neighborhoods," O'Brien Chalmers, president of Steelblue, said in a statement.
Plus, it was designed so that data visualizations can be easily overlaid on this civic blank slate, offering a more realistic perspective of the street-view details—traffic snarls and flow, people cruising through the space—that might impact specific areas.
How will the Salesforce supertall and Transbay Terminal shape SoMa? Lean in and see for yourself. What happens if King Kong or a dino comes raging through town? They've accounted for that too, thankfully. Hold onto your butts. [Autodesk]