Touch the Sky

A week of skyscraper builds from Ryer!

You're probably too young to remember what life was like before 'sliced bread' was invented, and we had to make do with regular 'bread'. Those were dark days. Sandwiches took weeks to construct, sometimes even months. Bread had to be eaten in miserable clumps, wet from all the tears rolling down your dough-covered cheeks. Bakers were hated by all, and rightly so.

Then one day, everything changed. Someone invented 'slicing', mixed it with the invention of 'bread', and created sliced bread! An idea so amazing every future idea would be judged against it.

Point is, sometimes it takes the combination of two great ideas to finish a wonderful one. Like the skyscraper! Tall buildings had been around for ages, but it was the invention of the elevator in the 19th century that took them to truly awesome heights. Thanks to the ol' uppity-box, we can't get enough of scraping the sky with our industrial might. Indeed, the tallest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubia, is over two thousand and seven hundred feet tall! What better way to celebrate such architectural awesomeness than building a skyscraper in Minecraft?

Well, ace builder Ryer actually came up with a better way – by combining the ideas of 'skycrapers' and 'weeks', and sharing a new, stunning skyscraper build every day for seven days as part of his own Skyscraper week!

Seven mighty skyscraper builds! A lesser caption writer would call this a towering achievement, but I consider that sort of wordplay to be really scraping the barrel. Skyscraping the barrel! ...Sorry.

Seven mighty skyscraper builds! A lesser caption writer would call this a towering achievement, but I consider that sort of wordplay to be really scraping the barrel. Skyscraping the barrel! ...Sorry.

Seven mighty skyscraper builds! A lesser caption writer would call this a towering achievement, but I consider that sort of wordplay to be really scraping the barrel. Skyscraping the barrel! ...Sorry.

Seven mighty skyscraper builds! A lesser caption writer would call this a towering achievement, but I consider that sort of wordplay to be really scraping the barrel. Skyscraping the barrel! ...Sorry.

Seven mighty skyscraper builds! A lesser caption writer would call this a towering achievement, but I consider that sort of wordplay to be really scraping the barrel. Skyscraping the barrel! ...Sorry.

Seven mighty skyscraper builds! A lesser caption writer would call this a towering achievement, but I consider that sort of wordplay to be really scraping the barrel. Skyscraping the barrel! ...Sorry.

Seven mighty skyscraper builds! A lesser caption writer would call this a towering achievement, but I consider that sort of wordplay to be really scraping the barrel. Skyscraping the barrel! ...Sorry.

“Quite a long time ago, I had seen a video on YouTube of someone who had done a small recreation of the Shimizu Megacity Pyramid,” explains Ryer to us, when we ask how he discovered Minecraft. “Back in those days, I had never seen something like that in a game, and I wanted to do something similar.

“So I bought the game and started making things. Those early projects started out small and I can’t for the life of me remember what they were. All I knew was that I wanted to make something like that eventually. I ended up starting to make skyscrapers, and I found them really fun to build, so I kept doing it.”

Just putting together one steel monolith of a skyscraper would be enough for most people. What possessed Ryer to shoot for an entire weeks worth of towering builds? “Skyscraper week is an old idea of mine, dating probably all the way back to the middle of 2015. I was never able to create enough towers to do it until recently however. I had joined, and now co-own a server called Architects MC and most of these skyscrapers came from a city we are making on there called Clermont.”

“After a little while I had a large number of completed Skyscrapers, and I decided that this would be the time to do Skyscraper Week. It wasn’t too much of a challenge to keep up with the daily upload schedule, considering everything was completed beforehand.”

But although adhering to a strict schedule kept the week relatively hassle free, it still wasn't without it's time-sucking challenges. “Rendering was incredibly tedious and long. I had seven skyscrapers, and originally I wanted to do seven renders for each one of them, then a few more for other promotional stuff. I ended up cutting back to only five renders per project, but each one took about two hours nonetheless.

"By the end of it I had rendered for almost 100 hours over the course of two weekends. That was a bit of a challenge.” As overpaid oafs who have to constantly resize and reupload images to make this site look pretty, we feel your pain, Ryer.

Ryer describes Clermont, the city he's building on the Architects MC Server as a place with a “very San Franciscan vibe”, and real-world structures are a big influence on his work, with both 181 Fremont and the Salesforce Tower being replicas of the San Fransisco skyscrapers.

“By the end of it I had rendered for almost 100 hours over the course of two weekends.”

“Lots of the skyscrapers that aren’t a direct replica do have inspiration rooted in some real building somewhere,” explains Ryer. “For my M-Tower I had looked to the monolithic, massive nature of the Goldin Finance 117 tower in Tianjin, China.

“I loved how that skyscraper seemed so dominating, and had such a simple form. Some other buildings I make just come straight out of my head, with little inspiration rooted in real life.”

Ryer's M-Tower, next to the Finance 117 tower that inspired it. Photo by wikimedia user MNXANL.

Ryer's advice for aspiring builders? “Build whatever you want, try different things. If you find that you like doing something in particular, practice that style. The best way to get better at something is to do it. Start small, as large projects early on kill motivation. Do something unique, though this is probably a little bit hypocritical for me to say... I have created almost 40 skyscrapers.

“People love new things, and it is always fun to go into territory that has never been explored. The most important thing is to never give up. If you complete something, and it doesn’t look exactly how you would have liked it, see if you can figure out why. On your next endeavour, be conscious about what you liked, and what you didn’t like on that last build. Make something new with that information in mind. Minecraft gives you the opportunity to do whatever you want, so do whatever you want.”

For more of Ryer's ace builds, take a look at his Planet Minecraft page, follow him on Twitter and find his server, Architects MC, here. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? ACTUALLY IT'S BETTER.