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Dave's Park!

Dave's Park!

Acadia Square

Quite simply put, although Middletown is a model railway layout and the trains are the initial reason for the existence of the town, Acadia Square is the heart and soul of Middletown. This project is so large that I will break it down into five separate pages (this page being the first of the five). Please use the following links to navigate your way to the various pages. At the top and end of each page you will find a set of links which will bring you back here or to the other pages in this series.


Overview
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3
Phase 4


Project Background

The initial plan for Middletown, in my mind, a long time before pencil ever met paper, was to to include three essential structures: a passenger station, a freight terminal, and a downtown commercial/professional area to be named Evangeline Square. Everything else in Middletown would be built around these.

By the time the plan was being drawn and ammended on paper a change was already in the works. The name Evangeline, while a tip of the hat to the place of my ancestry, did not have that magical ring to it. And the truth is that while Evangeline refers to the land of my ancestry, it is more a reference to a poem about the historic events that happened there.

I chose instead the name Acadia Square, for the same reasons that I had initially intended but a simpler, more inclusive and perhaps more honest name. It is a tribute to my ancestors, the Acadians who were the first permanent European settlers of this part of the world.


The Plan

Acadia Square represents a project just like some of the projects I was involved with in my real life career. It is an urban renewal / restoration / enhancement project. Acadia Square is an entire downtown block. Four old Victorian buildings (three along Main Street and one at the back corner on Mill Road) have been raised and a common underground parking garage has been built under them. The buildings have been set down on their new foundation, gutted and completely rebuilt on the inside to bring them up to today's commercial standards. Mechanical systems and essential services are shared and a visitor can easily walk down corridors and around corners with complete access to four of the five buildings from inside and the fifth accessible through the parking garage without ever having to step outdoors, . There is an outdoor common terrace behind and in the center of the buildings, over the parking garage, where folks can enjoy some blue sky and fresh air in a comfortable setting.

In addition to strucural improvements for commercial use in a modern age, there is a standardized color scheme that esthetically ties the project together. The Victorian buildings are painted in their traditional Victorian colors but will share a common trim color. The new building, painted in a suitable complimentary neutral shade will also use the same trim color as the older buildings. The result is an immediate sense upon seeing the Square that it is in fact one large complex.

Along the front, Main Street, starting at the left on the corner of Mill Road, we have a two storey corner building complete with a classic corner turret. Next to that we have a three storey building and at the right front corner, at Park Street, sits a hydrostone two storey financial building. These three become the Main Street facade.

Along Mill Road, on the right of the complex, we pass the corner building and come to the entrance/exit area for the underground parking. The parking ramp meets the garage doors below an open terrace area nestled among the backs of the buildings and it opens out onto Acadia Place at the rear of the Square. Just past the parking exit/entrance is a free-standing 2 storey Metropolitan Store.

On the largest parcel of space, the corner of Park Street and Acadia Place, a five storey hotel and business centre has been built. It is the largest of the buildings of Acadia Square and its style is a blend of modern and Victorian. It is the crown jewel of downtown Middletown.

On the pages that follow you will find a step by step account of the building of Acadia Square. It will incorporate various styles of buildings, a wide variety of scratch-building materials, and a number of modelling techniques not used anywhere else in Middletown.


Challenges

The Acadia Square complex presented some unique challenges.

Underground Parking: As with every other structure in Middletown, the base of each building (or, ground floor slab) is a piece of 1/16" picture matte that matches the level of the sidewalks. As big as this project was the same style base was used. A piece of picture matte was cut to the size of the entire project. The outer perimeter of that base was a surrounding 6' sidewalk.

The entrance/exit ramp for the underground parking slopes toward the centre of the complex, dropping 8' at the garage doors. This means a cut of 0.6" through the foam board. Prior to laying the foam board a small area was cut out of the veneer of the sub-base to provide any additional clearance.


Joining the Main Street Buildings: You will see in Phase 1 that almost right out of the gate I hit a brick wall on that one. The alignment of walls slowed me down for over a week.


Hotel Walls & Windows: These also presented many challenges I had never faced before, particularly with the layered construction of the exterior walls. These various challenges are each addressed in Phase 2.


Overview
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3
Phase 4