As described in my Hollow Hill Project blog, the hill began with just a winding path up to the summit. After many months I decided to dig a connecting passage from the block 130 exhibit room to the hill, and I made this passage end in a staircase that would emerge right by the side of the path at the summit.
Shortly after digging the stairs I then decided to widen part of the stairs into an underground room, roughly cylindrical in shape. It was about 9 blocks across and 12 blocks high, and the stairs went right through the middle of it.
Here is a cross-section of the Hill before I began to hollow it out in earnest. The cylindrical room that is to become Dome 7, and the long staircase are visible:
Soon I thought maybe it might be fun to enlarge this room until it was as big as the hill itself, and the bigger Hollow Hill Project began.
I widened the floor first, making the ceiling 4 blocks high so it would be large enough for astronauts. I knew I'd have to protect the hill project with trenches to catch astronauts and brown mobs (see the moat world blog). Any mobs that fell into the trenches would end up inside the hill, but they need 4 blocks of headroom to move freely (see my astronaut wrangling article).
After the first (lowest) floor had expanded a fair bit, I began the higher floors. I wanted to preserve something like the original cylindrical room, so I kept parts of the walls of the room in the form of vertical stone columns. At this point it looked a lot like the lobby of building 7 at MIT, so I started calling it "Dome 7" (which is what MIT people call the dome at the top of that building). Later, I changed the columns to green marble and added the blue domed roof.
- Dome 7, still embedded in the 2nd floor
When the above photo was taken, the cross-section of the hill looked about like this:
I cut away some more of the floor as I was working on the main project:
- Dome 7, floor partly cut away
Eventually Dome 7 was completely free of the surrounding floors. The hill is not yet done (I have removed about 50,000 blocks so far, and probably have about another 50,000 to go) but already Dome 7 is looking like a little hut built inside the Superdome.
- An astronaut has been caught in the birdcage
I don't know how this guy got inside, bt it made him easier to shoot (-:
Here are some more Dome 7 photos: