Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its castle atop a volcanic plug of rock, and the Princes Street Gardens, a public park lying between the city’s Old and New Towns. It’s my home, so I’m obviously biased, but it’s widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and dramatic city centres in the world. The challenge of recreating my home city in the brick has haunted me for years, and I finally decided to take a proper crack at it. After 18 months of off-and-on building, multiple orders of bricks, and a great deal of cursing and starting over, this 2,000(ish) brick model was the result.
The model is 75cm by 40cm and captures the upper stretch of the famous Royal Mile, the Castle Rock, and the whole of the gardens — including the train tracks, the Scott Monument, the art galleries on The Mound, and the various churches which are dotted across this slice of the city.
Over a total of a year and a half, I was probably building this for three months or so, with flurries of activity punctuated with periods when I couldn’t bring myself to even look at it! Google Maps was a constant companion throughout the project, allowing me to zoom in on individual buildings to capture detail, or zoom out to understand general scale and comparative distances. It’s amazing how much you learn when you look in this level of detail at somewhere you think you know well.
Once the model was completed, I wanted to get some images against a real sky. The photo below captures one of my favourite views of the city — looking out from Waverley Bridge across the Eastern section of the Gardens, the National Gallery and Royal Academy buildings ahead, and the Castle looming over everything in the background. As happens often in real life, one of the city’s many double-decker buses has managed to get into the shot…
Whilst I’m pleased with how the final model turned out, at the moment I’m saying I’m never attempting such a project ever again! However, I’ve already caught myself looking at maps of the city and idly wondering in which direction I should extend the diorama. I think it’s only a matter of time before I’m engrossed in mini city-building all over again.