This Is The Place Heritage Park Diorama

Case Study: Building a scale model diorama of This Is The Place Heritage Park

Table of Contents

Park Diorama + Technology

This Is The Place Heritage park is located on the east side of Salt Lake City,Utah. It sits at the mouth of Emigration Canyon. WhiteClouds was commissioned to build a large architectural diorama (18’x12′) showcasing intricate details of the park from the monuments to art exhibits to all of theĀ architectural buildings. WhiteClouds was also commissioned to build a 3D parallax model of the black and white picture taken of the actual monument in 1847.

The monument is named in honor of Brigham Young’s famous statement in 1847 that the Latter-day Saint pioneers should settle in the Salt Lake Valley. Heritage park was built to remember and memorialize the hardships associated with the early founding of the state of Utah.

The diorama model was masterfully crafted using multiple 3D printing technologies combined with traditional model-making processes. Full-color 3d printers were used to fabricate the 62 buildings emphasizing the correct texture replication in the wood and stone structures. These same full-color printers along with monochrome resin 3D printers were used to create the 561 different objects used in the diorama from automobiles, statutes, animals, fence-lines, signs, light-poles, trains and train tracks. Many of the extremely detailed objects were hand-painted. The smallest objects were 3D printed with details as small as 16 microns (about 1/6 the size of a human hair).

Roads, sidewalks, trails, riverbeds, and parking lots were all creating by hand using different techniques to simulate concrete, asphalt, gravel, and dirt. The model itself was designed with 18 different sections. Each section was strategically designed and planned to use road and sidewalk surfaces to cover any seams when combining all of sections. The installation process (which took about 200 hours to assemble) is where the final seams were covered, combining the 18 separate sections into one continuous diorama.

The outside edge was finished-off with WhiteClouds’ proprietary felt-like finish materials hiding any seams and directing the viewers full-attention to the surface of the diorama. The geography of the 450 acres of land depicted in the diorama varied from dense oak trees to shagebrush to barren areas of dirt and grass. With over 4,000 hand-made trees, bushes, and flowers it was a very meticulous process of placing all of the landscaping in the correct positions.

There were multiple “Easter Eggs”, extremely small elements, placed inside the diorama to promote talking points and a fun exploratory experience while viewing the diorama. Other extreme details included 14 different statute areas, wagons and handcarts being pushed by parents and children to recreate the images of the pioneers trek to Salt Lake City, detailed trains used at the park for customers ease of movement, and monuments depicting all of lives lost in the long treacherous journey traveling to Salt Lake City.

The project began by 3D scanning many of the objects in the park, then using 3D design software to clean and complete the 3D design of every item within Heritage Park. This took almost 500 hours of 3D design time. The actual fabrication of all of the 3D Prints and traditional model making of the landscaping took about 3 months. Start to finish, the project took 9 months to complete. Here is a video of the installation process:

This is the Place Heritage Park Diorama closeup
This is the Place Heritage Park Diorama closeup
Child looking at the this is the place monument park diorama
Kash Lawrence looks at a model of This Is the Place Heritage Park after President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offered the dedicatory prayer for the new Pioneer Center at the park in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 26, 2021. The model is featured in the center. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
This is the place heritage park miniature model
Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Across from the diorama is a photo opportunity display, a 3D parallax exhibit representing black and white original photos from 1847. The parallax model will combine new lighting technologies with multiple polycarbonate panels to simulate 3D movement as viewers walk past the display.

Gallery of This is the Place Heritage Park Custom Diorama Model

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