Cape Town Foreshore Model

I was commissioned to create a large model of the Foreshore area that would form the centrepiece of an exhibition. At 1:200, the model measured 9.6 by 8.1 meters.

The exhibition was the culmination of research and design exploration conducted by students from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of Cape Town. The university worked in conjunction with the City of Cape Town to explore design solutions for the Foreshore area. The exhibition was an official event of the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014.

The Foreshore area of Cape Town was reclaimed from the sea from the 1930’s, partly in conjunction with the creation of the Duncan Dock. In the 1960s, an elevated freeway structure through the area was proposed as part of a ring road concept for central Cape Town. Many schemes were considered. The first phases were designed and constructed during the 1970s. The designs did not incorporate any wider urban planning and design considerations. The proposals focused solely on now outdated traffic engineering solutions. The final design connected freeways to Sea Point and Buitengracht St, but not all of this was completed. The unfinished hanging highways are a reminder of those times and cause for much criticism.

The model was made out of laser cut corrugated cardboard. The process is described on the left.

foreshore model photograph
foreshore model photograph foreshore model photograph
The process: First I created a plan of the Foreshore area using GIS data. I used road center line information and aerial photography to extrapolate kerb edges, simple building outlines and highways:
CAD plan of foreshore area
From this CAD data, I created a 3D model of Foreshore area, keeping geometry as rectilinear as possible. Highways and some buildings were made of several parts:
3D view of foreshore model
Next I “unwrapped” all 3D objects and added tabs (adjusted for 3mm card thickness):
animation of modelling and unwrapping
All building, highway and ground plane pieces were labeled using a naming convention and then nestled on sheets for laser cutting. Objects that were larger than the sheet size were cut into sections with “puzzle” joints for easy assembling at a later stage:
sheets for laser cutting
We laser cut almost 400 sheets of corrugated card. Each sheet was 610mm x 960mm x 3mm in size:
laser cutter at work cut sheet fresh out of laser cutter
2 laser cutting machines
cut pieces ready to be assembled
With the help of a team of students, we assembled each building and laid out the model on the floor of the exhibition space:
model under construction model under construction model under construction