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Google Earth Canary Wharf

Last Friday we posted a movie created of Canary Wharf from simply downloading the models at the Google 3D Warehouse. The models were created by
Olivier Salome (with the tag Jef at the 3D Warehouse) and we asked him to get in touch.. thankfully he did and he agreed to a short interview into how he built the model and his future plans. He also allowed us to post his latest Google Earth file of Canary Wharf which can be found at the end of the interview and is well worth a download. If you havent seen the movie already you can view it by clicking play below:

1) I notice you are based in Brussels, what got you interested in modelling London?

I am amazed to see the huge building effort London is taking to transform its skyline. In the City of London, 30St Mary Axe (Norman Foster, 180m) is one of the most ingenious and elegant new skyscraper built anywhere in the world. It will soon be joined by other stunning structures such as e.g. 122 Leadenhall Street (Richard Rogers, 224m) and the Shard London Bridge (Renzo Piano, 306m). In the Docklands, Canary Wharf has become one of the most vibrant and fast growing new business district in Europe and its tallest tower at One Canada Square (235m, Cesar Pelli) is also a remarkable piece of architecture. Then I came to know the excellent modelling work undertaken at CASA/UCL and in particular the 3D London models shared on the blog. I was so impressed at the results that I decided to try myself some simple modelling exercises.

2) Distance modeling is never easy, how to you get your data.. more especially the outlines of buildings, the heights and the textures?

Emporis is one of the world's largest publicly available database on architectural and building data. Plans related to planning applications are published on the websites of the Corporation of London and Tower Hamlets. Architects, developers and letting agents also release some of the information I need to undertake 3D modelling. I would also like to mention the London forum thread on skyscrapercity where quality pictures are regularly posted as well as relevant architectural information and links.

3) Can you give us an idea of your work flow?

It takes time to collect all the information before I can actually start modelling with Google Sketchup. Buildings at Canary Wharf are not difficult to model - compared to e.g. 30St Mary Axe. However, it is difficult to ensure consistency in terms of colours, especially for those buildings in stainless steel and glass. Overall it took me about a month to make that model.

4) What buildings can we look forward to in the future?

Canary Wharf has started its new phase of mid-rise developments around Churchill Place on the eastern edge of the cluser. The two "Pan Peninsula" residential towers at the adjacent Millennium Quarter are also under construction. These will be added to the model. I have also started modelling New Providence Wharf opposite the Millennium Dome and Ontario Tower which is due for completion later this year. Meanwhile I am working on some buildings in the City of London.

In some ways it is amazing how quickly 3D modelling of cities has essentially become Open Source thanks to Google Earth and modellers like Jef. You can download his latest version of Canary Wharf from here (6Mb) and we thank Olivier for his time and look forward to some more more buildings in Olivier's section of the Google 3D Warehouse.

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