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You can buy an insanely detailed 3D scale model of downtown Chicago

Written by
Grace Perry

Have you ever wanted to have a little piece of Chicago with you at all times? New York-based start-up Microscape wants you to have one, too. The company that made a 1:5000 scale model of Manhattan in 2016 and is giving downtown Chicago the same treatment this year. By using detailed aerial scan data, it's 3D printing an insanely detailed recreation of the Windy City from Division Street to the Museum Campus, and from Navy Pier to the Kennedy Expressway, broken down into 36 square slices. Take a look for yourself:

Photograph: Courtesy Microscape

Photograph: Courtesy Microscape

Photograph: Courtesy Microscape

Both the Chicago and New York models are on a 1:5000 scale, so the two cities can be placed side-by-side for comparison. You know, just in case you want to see for yourself that Chicago’s skyscrapers are more impressive than NYC’s. 

Photograph: Courtesy Microscape

Microscape was founded in 2016 by William Ngo and Alan Silverman, who have both worked in the field of architecture and design for more than a decade. Following the success of its New York model, Microscape received dozens of requests for 3D models of cities worldwide—and Chicago beat ‘em all. As Ngo told us, “Due to its historic relevance and the significant influence its had on architecture and how we think of cities, Chicago felt like an important city to document and capture in our 3D Printed models.”

Each piece will be available for $125 each, but though January 25 (the end of its Kickstarter campaign) they’re discounted for $75 each. Go ahead and explore Chicago in Microscape’s  6 x 6” chunks with this interactive map. They’ve also just unveiled a limited edition panel with a teeny rhodium-plated brass Cloud Gate, which might be the cutest thing we’ve ever seen:

Photograph: Courtesy Microscape

Microscape has already surpassed its $8,000 Kickstarter goal (it's at $38,068 at the time this was written). However, contributors will get to vote on which city Microscape replicates next. If you want to put a horse in the race, it might be worth contributing to the company’s Chicago project.

While you’re picking out your dream squares of River North and the Loop, peep through the 50 most beautiful buildings in Chicago. They’ll sure look pretty on your desk, won’t they?

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