Building with Luke Towan

Build with Markenburg  — Mon 12 Dec 2022

Markenburg in the picture.

Markenburg articles have been going all over the world for years and people have been building the most beautiful things with them for years. But not so often really great videos have been made and shared.
Luke Towan, known for his YouTube channel and his own Boulder Creek railroad website, recently made a great diorama in which Markenburg articles play an important role.

Luke Towan shows on video how the construction of a great diorama is progressing, while the necessary Markenburg products are processed.

Details make the difference.

Sewerage along the side of the building, air conditioners on the front and a emergency staircase to the roof. It occurs in Great Britain, sometimes in the US and undoubtedly also in Australia.
In the Netherlands we have our own view on this. The sewerage system in Dutch buildings is exclusively situated internally. This has to do, among other things, with the building regulations that should protect against freezing of the mainpipe in this case. Because you don't want the mess that can come with it.
You will not often see air conditioners on the front because you do not get a permit for them. (In the Netherlands) The facade is seen as defining the image from the street (public space), so it must look typically Dutch neat.
In the Netherlands, we arrange the emergency stairs to the roof in various ways. For example, compartmentalised flats have an extension ladder through a roof hatch at the top of the staircase. And if there is an elevator, such a ladder and hatch are located on the top floor. At Oranjelaan 9-13, the roof is not actually accessible with an existing staircase. The roofer is expected to bring a cherry picker. For a long time no one had to come up, until recently some solar panels were installed here and there. But that too will have to be achieved with the cherry picker.

There are also various differences between countries in the paving and decoration of public spaces. Markenburg has an extensive range of paving patterns and details for public spaces, but mainly Dutch or possibly European oriented. That will not have helped Luke very much, so he now gives a nice explanation in the video how you can make an Australian-looking public space. Naturally, this is done with English-language signage, but also see, for example, the large concrete surfaces as pedestrian space. In the Netherlands we use 30 by 30cm tiles, for pavements throughout the country.

In summary, weather influences, available materials and rules are the biggest causes of external differences. But those details reveal even in the model what it is made to.

Mainstreet or post war shopping gallery

Luke has made a beautiful diorama with a piece of “mainstreet”, as he calls it.
In Australia and also the US, these are often quite literally the main streets of the village or town. Main Streets in the field of traffic handling in the broadest sense of the word, but also Main Streets in the wide variety of functions in the adjacent buildings. These main streets often have buildings from various construction periods, including the pre-1900 periods that are old for those parts of the world. Old buildings in particular often have various uses, such as housing, shops and small businesses mixed together. Something that is quite exceptional for the more contemporary neighborhoods in Australia and the US. After all, living, shopping and working functions are quite strictly separated from each other in more modern times by means of "zoning codes" or zoning plans.

We also have zoning plans in Europe and the Netherlands. Most of them were drawn up around or (well) after 1900. But around 1900 Europe already had countless old villages and towns, built in times when walking was the only form of mobility. Where European main streets have been given a size and scale based on the pedestrian, in Australia and the US it is much more based on the horse and carriage, steam tram and the first cars.

Yet Oranjelaan 9-13 is not that far from the main street.
Oranjelaan 9-13 is a model directly replicated of a 1960s neighborhood shopping center in an average 1960s residential area. In the Netherlands we experienced the largest growth spurt in history from about 1960 to about 1979. Some towns doubled in size in those 20 years. And those new neighborhoods often got their own neighborhood shopping center or shopping gallery. A kind of mini “main street”.
Because everything was built on the basis of modern zoning plans. Meaning: as much segregation of functions as possible in the neighborhood and therefore also a lot of space for the car, not least at the neighborhood shopping center, where there are some apartments above the shops.

Absolutely beautiful!
For sure Luke Towan has made something beautiful! And beautifully portrayed too! Which, by the way, he does and shows with great frequency.
So do you want to see more videos and get inspired?
Be sure to check out his website:
And if desired also on his Youtube channel:

Greep uit de foto collage van Teun van Kastel
Still from the video during construction.

Greep uit de foto collage van Teun van Kastel
Still from the video with the end result.