Ella Bennett recreates York’s National STEM Learning Center in miniature


A MODEL student has spent thousands of hours painstakingly recreating a miniature version of an unusual building in York.

Ella Bennett used the project to keep busy and work at her locked-out dream job, which resulted in a small recreation of the National STEM Learning Center (NSLC).

The result was Ella’s final project for her BA Model Design & Effects course, helping her earn a top-notch degree.

The model is now proudly displayed at the centre, which is on the York University campus.

Ella used Google Maps as a guide and source of inspiration, unable to visit the center herself.

It wasn’t until she was done and the Covid restrictions were lifted that she was able to make the trip from her home in Hertfordshire with her father Phil and sister Alice to see him in person.

She said, “I don’t know the exact number of hours I worked on it, but it’s definitely thousands. With my perfectionism and other setbacks, it took a lot longer than expected.

“I could have gone on with this forever trying to make it perfect. It was completed 15 months after I started it, but I had a lot of interruptions throughout, mainly due to Covid.

“Most of the time it was kept in college, but after college it was kept in a back room away from as many people as possible.

“When I finally saw the NSLC in person, I was shocked at how big it was. Then I started seeing things in the building that I hadn’t seen in the photos and I started to do some self-criticism.

“The shapes made it harder to understand, but it was a nice challenge. Many features, when scaled down, needed to be simplified because some details were impossible to recreate at this scale. The hardest part was choose what details to put in and what to simplify; as a model maker you will always want to do more than what is possible.

“I was proud of the result and proud to have managed to create such a complex model.”

Ella, who is now a full-time operational model maker at Dyson, used acrylic, chemiwood, SLA (3D printed) MDF and grass flock.

STEM Learning Project Manager Jenny Toft-Eriksen said: “This is an incredibly detailed and intricate 1:200 scale model, the likeness is incredible.

“It is now on display in our resource center for all to admire.

“Ella is so talented and she is a great example of how skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) are transferable to many sectors. As a model maker, you could have a very rewarding career in architecture or product design, but it also opens many other doors for you, including film, television, advertising, medicine, construction, games and many others.


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