This month we have a bunch of new replicas coming out representing buildings from New York, Rhode Island and Canada. Our replicabuildings.com site only allows us one display picture per souvenir so we decided to use the blog as a way to showcase different views of each miniature and their intricate details.
As far back as 1946, plans for a large commercial development in lower Manhattan were being discussed by the New York State legislature. A hotel, convention, trade and commercial center was imagined. In the early 1960’s David and Nelson Rockefeller conceived the idea of combining urban renewal with the development of the World Trade Center complex. Nelson (Governor) and David’s ( Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank) involvement in the project was so intimate that the twin towers were nicknamed David and Nelson!
The site at the time was a run down area filled with small electronics retail / repair shops and warehouses. To clear the site, over 160 buildings on 13 blocks were razed and five streets were closed. In 1962 the Port Authority announced the selection of Minoru Yamasaki as lead architect and Emery Roth & Sons as associate architects. Yamasaki’s original plan called for twin 80 story towers. To satisfy the Port Authority’s requirement of 10,000,000 square feet of floor space the towers were increased to 110 floors each.
Groundbreaking for the construction of the World Trade Center took place on August 5, 1966. The north tower was started in August of 1968, the South tower in January of 1969. In October of 1970 the north tower exceeded the height of the Empire State building. It was the tallest building in the world for 2-½ years until the completion the Sears Tower in 1973.
The tallest through time building portfolio of InFocusTech is now complete with the addition of this 150’ scale masterpiece. The World Trade Center is available in two forms, WTC 150 Complex and WTC 150.
The complex base measures approximately 6” x 7” and the towers are just over 9” to the rooftops. The WTC 150’s base measures 3-½” square and the towers are also are just over 9” to the roof tops. Maximum detail is achieved by casting and finishing all buildings separately (11 cast pieces) and then assembling the complex. The towers are freestanding and are not fastened to the base.
Every year a small group known as the Souvenir Building Collectors Society descends upon a city of their choosing to hold their annual convention. This year’s destination is our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. The SBCS was formed in 1994 and membership includes a newsletter published three times a year and exclusive invitation to members only events. The SBCS convention is always a great time for us here at InFocusTech and also an opportunity to showcase some of the landmarks of the city we’re about to visit. For more on Washington D.C. souvenirs check out our fellow member Dave’s blog, the Building Collector.
This 555-foot obelisk is an iconic landmark for the entire United States and once stood as the tallest man-made structure in the world. The Monument was built in 1884 and held the world’s tallest title for five years until the Eiffel Tower was completed. This replica stands a little less than 6 inches tall.
The National Cathedral stands 301’ tall and is currently the second largest cathedral in the country and sixth in the world. Building started in 1907 and was finally completed in 1990. This neo-gothic cathedral also features many gargoyles but one that is very strange and unique for a church, a gargoyle of Darth Vader of Star Wars fame. This replica is featured in 100-foot and 150-foot scales.
Located just outside D.C. in Alexandria, VA is the 333-foot George Washington Masonic Memorial, which was inspired by the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Construction began in 1922 and was completed in 1932. This replica is featured in 100-foot and 150-foot scales.
The Jefferson Memorial began construction in 1939 and was completed in 1943. Some of the key features to the Memorial are the bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson, which was added in 1947, as well as the forest of cherry trees surrounding it. The replica is 1-5/8 inches tall and 3-1/4 inches deep.
The National Shrine is the third largest church in the United States and eighth largest in the world. It is also the tallest building in D.C. behind the Washington Monument standing 329 feet tall. This replica is featured in 100-foot scale.
The Old Post Office is the third tallest structure in D.C. standing at 315 feet tall. This national landmark was almost demolished in 1971, but Nancy Hanks as well as the locals convinced Congress to reverse their decision and eventually the Old Post was added to the National Register of Historic Places. This replica is featured in 100-foot and 150-foot scales.
The Thomas Jefferson Building was completed in 1897 and is the oldest of the three buildings that make up the Library of Congress. One of the key features to this building in the interior, which is made up of many fine American painters and sculptor’s best works. The replica measures 3-1/4 inches wide.
This beaux-arts train station was completed in 1907 and is one of the most visited sites in Washington D.C. Originally used only for train, it is now home to buses and subway trains. Union Station was once in danger of possibly collapsing but restorations and renovations saved the area favorite. This replica measures 3-13/16 inches wide.
After looking over our souvenir buildings of San Francisco, we decided to make some more additions, specifically some of the early 20th century skyscrapers. San Francisco had a much different skyline back then, where two buildings shared the city’s tallest title at 435’ tall, the Russ and PacBell Buildings. Without the 700’ and 800’ skyscrapers of today’s San Francisco, smaller buildings such as the Hobart and Shell Buildings were more easily recognizable and admired. Another addition to this great miniature skyline is also the Ferry Building, a longtime landmark that can be seen looking down Market Street. With all of these new additions, the miniature San Francisco skyline can truly be represented on any shelf.
The Hobart is a 285’ skyscraper built in 1914 that displays a very unique shape and stunning baroque ornamentation. This building only took 11 months to complete and stood as the second tallest in the city behind the once beautiful Call Building. Our models include a 1”=75’, 1”=100’ and a 1”=150’ scale replicas.
The art deco Shell Building was built in 1929 and stands 378’ tall. This was home to the Shell Oil Company until the 1960’s. The Shell is decorated with elaborate ornamentation on its exterior as well as the interior where it flows through a two-story mezzanine lobby. This model is replicated in the 1”=100’ and a 1”=150’ scales.
Originally known as the Pacific Telephone Building, PacBell is considered as San Francisco’s first major skyscraper. This Neo-gothic tower stands at 435’ to its roof and was completed in 1925 as the city’s tallest. This model is replicated in the 1”=100’ and a 1”=150’ scales.
Two years after PacBell was built, the Russ Building was completed and stood at the same height. Today the Russ is hard to spot because skyscrapers surround it, leaving a once prominent building hidden within the city. This model is replicated in the 1”=100’ and a 1”=150’ scales.
The Ferry Building was built in 1898 and survived the 1906 earthquake due to its massive steel frame. The Ferry was once one of the busiest transportation hubs in the world. This 245’ clock tower now stands as a San Franciscan icon that has survived the test of time. This model is replicated in the 1”=100’ and a 1”=150’ scales.
San Francisco is very unique in its range of architectural styles, from the Victorian and Edwardian Painted Ladies of Alamo Square to the Futurist Transamerica Pyramid. We have been able to represent some of the most significant architectural areas in San Francisco such as Alamo Square, The Palace of Fine Arts, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Cliff House and various skyscrapers including the iconic Transamerica Pyramid. Our focus has been primarily skyscrapers, but San Francisco is represented by a more diverse selection of architecture that we have enjoyed replicating in miniature.
450 Sutter Street was designed by Miller & Pflueger Architects and completed in 1929. Its unique Art Deco style is known as neo-Mayan where it is decorated in hieroglyphics and Mayan carvings from bottom to top. The vertical triangular faceted lines on 450 Sutter later influenced the design on 555 California Street. 450 Sutter stands 344 feet tall with 28 floors. We have replicated this building into two scales, the 1” = 100’ and 1” = 150’ scales.
The Alamo Square model is represented by the famous “Painted Ladies”. This row of houses was built in the Victorian and Edwardian style of architecture between 1892 and 1896 by developer Matthew Kavanaugh. This area is also known as “Postcard Row” due to the frequent use in photographs and media that depict the city.
The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco and one of its most iconic landmarks. The Pyramid stands 853 feet tall with 48 floors and is built in the Futurist Architectural style. Transamerica was designed by William L. Pereira and completed in 1972. Two scales are also available, the 1” = 100’ and 1” = 150’ scales.
555 California Street is currently the 2nd tallest skyscraper in San Fran but was once the tallest from 1969 to 1972. 555 was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and stands 779 feet tall with 52 floors. This building has been featured in the movies Dirty Harry and The Towering Inferno.
345 California Street was also designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and completed in 1986. It is currently the 3rd tallest skyscraper in San Fran standing 695 feet tall with 48 floors. 345 was originally to be 100 feet taller but height restrictions bumped it to 3rd on the tallest list. 345 California is also known as “Tweezer Towers.” Both 555 and 345 are available in 1” = 150’ scale.
The Call Building, or now known as the Central Tower, is a skyscraper that survived the earthquake and fire of 1906, but eventually didn’t survive its Art Deco alteration of 1938. The dome was removed, making the Call a drastically different building. The Call Building originally stood 315 feet tall until its dome was removed making it 298 feet now. It was built in 1898 and designed by Reid & Reid Architects.
A world’s fair was held in San Francisco in 1915 called the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The Palace of Fine Arts is a monument that survived the fair, being reconstructed in 1960, and is still a major landmark to the city. The Palace was originally created for the fair to showcase the fine arts and is only one of two structures remaining from the fair, the other being the Japanese Tea House. Another fair was held in 1939-1940 titled the Golden Gate International Exposition. This fair was held on San Fran’s Treasure Island. The two Elephant Towers were temporary structures that stood as the gateway to the western entrance of the fair.
The Cliff House info and pics can be found in our earlier blog post here.
Perhaps the most prominent landmark and representation of San Francisco can be seen in its Art Deco Golden Gate spanning suspension bridge. This bridge is unique in its design and international orange color, making it not only a San Francisco attraction but also an American symbol.