City of Chicago Model at the Chicago Architecture Foundation Return to CMEW Main Page

400 Blocks, over 1000 buildings - at a scale of 1 inch = 50 feet, the Willis Tower is about 3 feet tall - Accurate, Up to Date, viewed by at least 1 million people, 

 Last Updated 2016

Columbian Model and Exhibit Works made the City of Chicago model for the Chicago Architecture Foundation. They first step was to create an accurate 3d model of the City of Chicago. This was a huge task.   We worked  closely with the CAF and  Baxter International, DSM Somos and Molex who stepped in and donated fabrication of the buildings to the CAF.    These Chicagoland companies donated the enormous amount of rapid prototyping needed to produce over 400 blocks of Chicago's tallest buildings. They worked in concert to produce an average of 40 buildings a week for over 3 months.  They continue to produce new buildings so we can keep the model up to date.  This year we added over 13 new buildings to the model. 

Terry Kreplin, Senior Engineering Specialist, Applied Science & Technology Device Center of Excellence, Baxter Healthcare made this video for release to Baxter Healthcare personnel explaining the fabrication process . 


Hand work is still required to sand, paint and finish over 1000 buildings.  We also designed and made the base, roads, side walks, water, etc. 

 Here is a link to  photos of our initial fabrication process.   

 Did you know the entire model fits thru a single 3 ft wide door?

see us install the model in 60 seconds