Reconstruction of the 1865 Dublin International Exhibition: Glass Frames and Materials.

Now that the entire iron structure is built, it came the time to add the glass to the entire model and apply materials. To make matters easier for myself, I decided to apply all of the materials before I built the glass frame. As most of my structure was the same throughout, I only needed three materials to complete the entire structure, not including the glass.

For the floor, I chose to use a standard arch and design material, which was a light, birchwood, planked floor. I chose this because the reference image shows a light wooden floor, but I also like that it allows the maodel to look very bright on the inside, something which I had to be aware of throughout the process as ther are no lights inside the model to illuminate it. As I had all of the components for the floor in a single layer, it was easiest to use the ‘Assign to Selection’ tool in the material editor to apply the wood material to the entire floor in one click.

The application of the materials to the iron girders was almost the same process, but I had to go through my layers to be sure that everything was in the correct place, as some of the features in the iron structure are a light mint green colour and the other features are a light grey colour. Once i was sure that all of the correct parts of the structure were in the correct layers, I grouped the layers for each colour together.

For the mint green colour, I used an Arch and Design material in a matte metal finish, and assigned a colour which was as close to the reference image as possible. I then selected the group which was to be coloured green and used the ‘Assign to Selection’ tool to apply the material to the scene. I then repeated the process to complete the light grey colour on the other parts of the iron structure.

Before moving on to create the glass, I rendered the scene to be sure that the materials worked correctly.

Rendered Exterior of the Model

To create the glass panes, I took the measurements for each side of the structure, the length of the roof, and the width of each window frame in the dome. For the straight sides of the building, I created one long, thin box which fit the measurements of the walls, and was 0.05m thick, so that it was as thin and transparent as possible. I then embedded these panes into the existing window frames.

I repeated the process of creating the thin boxes to fit the length of the roof, and rotated the thin boxes to create a curved roof. This same process was also used to create the glass panes on the walls of the dome. The largest problem that I encountered, and the one that is the biggest eyesore of the model for me, is that of the glass on the dome roof. I could not create the curves properly, and had a lot of problems rotating it to properly fit the frames of the iron structure on the roof.

To assign a material to the glass, I first made sure that all of the glass was once again in the same layer so that I could quickly used the ‘Assign to Selection’ tool in the material editor. Again, I used a simple Arch and Design glass designed for thin geometry, and changed the colour to a slight blue colour.

When I applied the glass, I rendered the scene again to check that it had worked. The overall result reminded me distinctly of St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre in Dublin 2.

St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre


For project updates, you can keep up with this blog or with Fionn’s blog here.

Please tell me what you think!