Mar - 2017

The City of Waters


profile pic Surrounded by various lakes and rivers is the beautiful city of Minneapolis. Its name derives from the Greek word “mini” and “polis”, which means the “city of waters”. With some of the tallest skyscrapers and skylines in the United States, Minneapolis is a place with breathtaking views. Mikhail Tikh, an aspiring design engineer and maker, gets his creative inspiration from the city that he’s grown up in. “It’s an amazing place that is not on many people’s radar due to being in the middle of the country. If you look up just about any U.S. city ranking listicle, Minneapolis is always near the top,” Tikh said. Wanting to capture its beauty “in a small way”, he created a chess set using the skyscrapers as pieces. To incorporate the architectural details of each building, he referenced “photos, google maps, and Sketchup models”.


The Finished Chess Set

All the pieces were printed and positioned on a chess board for the final scale. “You can see most of the buildings,” Tikh said.

The Inspiration

Seen in the picture above from left to right, the “IDS Tower on the left is the king as the tallest building in the state. Wells Fargo tower to the right of it is the queen. The Campbell-Mithun tower with its pointed stepped roof made the perfect bishop. The Foshay, peeking out between the IDS and Wells Fargo building are my pawns. On the right of the photo you can just see the Hennepin County Government Center peeking out, which made a great rook. Although the Fifth Street Towers are not shown in the photo, they were selected for my knights,” Tikh explained.

Ready for Casting

To create a finished look, Tikh “sprayed the pieces with high built primer and sanded them down with a fine grit sandpaper to get rid of the layered lines.” Now that his pieces are complete, he has them placed on his chess board. Thus, allowing him to take a little part of Minneapolis with him wherever he goes. If you’re an avid traveler and you want to take a piece of your home with you, 3D print a mini part of the city you love.

Pawns - Foshay
Pawns – Foshay
Rooks - Hennepin County Government Center Building
Rooks – Hennepin County Government Center Building
Bishops - Campbell-Mithun Tower
Bishops – Campbell-Mithun Tower


Knights - Fifth-Street Towers
Knights – Fifth-Street Towers
Queen - Wells Fargo Tower
Queen – Wells Fargo Tower
King - IDS
King – IDS Tower

                        To view Mikhail Tikh’s 3D models click here. See his blog with other models that he’s created here.

Top 5 Facts about Minneapolis:

  1. Minneapolis Skyway is the longest pedestrian skyway system in the world.
  2. Ever want some peace and quiet? Visit Orfield Laboratories’ anechoic chamber. It holds the Guinness Book of World Record for being the “Quietest Place on Earth”.
  3. The tallest building in Minneapolis is the IDS Tower that is 792 feet high.
  4. Ranks #1 as being the bike-friendly city.
  5. Love gardening and art? You wouldn’t want to miss visiting the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. This place is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.


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