I was on a team of architects that had the pleasure to update the master plan for one of the largest aviation shows in the world: the annual EAA AirVenture at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. As our designers developed concepts for the exhibition grounds, I began a series of Google SketchUp “Super Models” that eventually became the primary tool for visualizing various components of the enormous campus.
Building a single SketchUp model for such an expansive area would have been too large of a model to navigate. I first began by importing the site plan into a model and establishing the primary collection of model components (buildings, pathways, restaurants, exhibit pavilions). In order to focus on the more detailed program areas, I made copies of the original model, cut away portions of each model not necessary for that specific view and added more detailed model information (people, airplanes, graphics) for the subject I was modeling. I produced six different SketchUp models to develop the views shown below.
Main Entrance Pavilions Model
This complicated SketchUp model was built to communicate the overall radial pattern of pedestrian connections and how the main public entrance ticketing and exhibits functioned. I imported beautiful plane models from 3D Warehouse and established both aerial views and eye-level views for presentation. With large models such as this, it is important to develop a strategy for how to communicate the enormous amount of information. The combination of aerial perspectives and ground level views made for successful communication of ideas to our client.
Exhibit Vendors Model
I built a new model to specifically show the organization of exhibit pavilions around a central square. The model was populated with hundreds of people to represent a large vendor presentation. I built several additional models of vendor buildings (shown below) to show both traditional and modern architectural options for the permanent buildings planned on the site.
Exhibits Hangars Model
The campus included several large steel “hangar” buildings to house the many small vendors associated with the aviation industry. I constructed the SketchUp model with enough detail to show the hangar from an aerial perspective and at eye level. As I mentioned earlier, this model began as a duplicate of the larger campus model of which I deleted all information not viewed in this detailed area. I then added more planes, people, graphics and information to complete these views.
Pedestrian Crossroads Model
This model focused directly on the plan development and tower design for one of the many pedestrian intersections on the fair grounds. I composed both an aerial view and eye level view to communicate the design and scale of the space.
Aviation Restaurant Model
I constructed this SketchUp model to show how an existing restaurant building on campus could be expanded to serve more customers. I recreated the existing building based on site photographs and added a new section of outdoor dining tables surrounded by food service support buildings. The aerial view communicated the basic site organization and the eye level views represented the detailed character of the dining spaces.
Warbirds Themed Restaurant Model
One portion of the fair grounds is devoted to the presentation of World War II planes and a full reenactment of a historic military airbase. The new restaurant included an observation tower and outdoor seating surrounded by vintage WWII airplanes. I found the plane models on 3D Warehouse and created both aerial and eye level views to communicate the design concept.
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