To mark the centenary of Daniel Burnham's plan of Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) unveiled the exhibition "Chicago Model City" on June 11. The show includes photographs, maps, videos, and digital visualizations of the metropolis, but the feature attraction is undoubtedly a 400-square-foot scale model of Chicago's Loop.

Displayed in the CAF's ArchiCenter within the Santa Fe Building—the same structure in which Burnham worked on his plan—the model covers 400 city blocks and contains 1,000 buildings, including a 3-foot-high Sears (soon to be renamed Willis) Tower. It even has a 24-hour lighting simulation system that goes from morning to night every 15 minutes. The model was created by Chicago-based Columbian Model and Exhibit Works using 3D printing technology.

For the past several years, the CAF had hoped to create a centerpiece for its ArchiCenter, says CAF president and CEO Lynn Osmond. The new model, with a scale of 1 inch to 50 feet, was inspired by similar models of Rome, Sydney, and other cities, she adds

"Chicago Model City," which runs through Nov. 20, is free and open to the public.

The model of the Loop in the Chicago Architecture Foundation's ArchiCenter.Courtesy Chicago Architecture Foundation