Berlin Wall : A Data Visualization

When we think about the Berlin Wall, despite having an idea of how its length, we can’t easily envisage its real size. With this question in my mind, I decided to create a computer generated 3D model of the wall compiled together in a single frame.

I started by conducting some research on Wikipedia:

The “fourth-generation wall” (Grenzmauer 75) , known officially as “Stützwandelement UL 12.11” , was the final and most sophisticated version of the  Berlin Wall. Begun in 1975 and completed about 1980, it was constructed from 45.000 separate sections of reinforced concrete, each 3.6 metres high and 1.2 metres wide. The concrete provisions added to this version of the Wall were done so as to prevent escapees from driving their cars through the barricades (“L” shape structure). The top of the wall was lined with a smooth pipe, intended to make it more difficult to scale. This version of the Wall is the one most commonly seen in photographs, and surviving fragments of the Wall in Berlin and elsewhere around the world are generally pieces of the fourth-generation Wall.“

The next step was to make a 3D model of a single segment from its blueprint and then duplicate it 45 thousand times. At that point I needed to decide how to compose all the pieces, so I ended up placing them together in the same proportions all from of a single segment. Doing this ensured that we are able to see both the shape of a single segment, on a larger scale, with more detail and the entire quantity that makes up the wall (exactly 45K pieces) together.

Another step of the project is to have a 3D printed version of this fractal design in 1:1 scale (3,6 meters). So the viewer can easily recognise its form from a distance and upon closer inspection the wall can be viewed in its entirety. I am in search of commissions or sponsors to have it printed. Please contact me if you are interested.


To demonstrate the 3D printed structure in real scale, it was virtually inserted next to the original wall segments at Berlin Wall Gallery of  Newseum in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Newseum

To envisage the actual size of the wall, the colossal structure (240 metres high) was placed in Alexanderplatz in true scale.

Photograph Copyright : © F1online digitale Bildagentur GmbH

In this animation you see the whole fractal structure (exactly 45.000 segments) with a collapsing simulation. The original full length animation piece is available in 5+1 editions and FullHD resolution.



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