A guide to building the Campanile in Minecraft

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Few games are as iconic as Minecraft. The hit role-player was released in 2009 under the name “Cave Game,” and over the years, it has morphed into a cultural icon. Over the past decade, it has infiltrated every aspect of pop culture, from becoming the subject of about 90% of YouTube videos in the early 2010s to its recent resurgence in the face of new competition, such as Fortnite 

Few landmarks are as iconic as the Campanile at UC Berkeley. The 307-foot giant is the third tallest bell-and-clock tower in the world, and it even has its own carillon. The carillon is frequently played throughout the day, especially at 7:50 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. on weekdays. It’s a sight for sore eyes, as well as for superb cameras. It is not infrequent to find a student or a passerby standing close to the Campanile and taking pictures to share with friends and on social media. The Campanile not only contributes but is an integral part of the UC Berkeley aesthetic.

When two icons are mashed together, there is the potential for something even more beautiful to be created. Peanut butter is amazing as-is, and so is jelly. Putting them together gives one of the most important mixtures ever created by humankind. Pens are great to use, and erasers are incredibly useful for correcting mistakes. Erasable pens combine the best of both worlds to give something elegant yet pragmatic. Keeping with the pursuit of perfection, I decided to combine Minecraft and the Campanile to create a model of the Campanile in Minecraft.

To start off, in order to make this model as realistic as possible, it is necessary to create the world in flat mode. This ensures that no terraforming or excessive land searching will need to go into finding an ideal location to build the Campanile. 

Next, the base must be built. In my model, the base was 15 x 15 blocks, a convenient number due to the number of blocks that lie directly in the middle of the specific length. I also chose to use quartz as the dominant material, due to its white, smooth and stony look, which is similar to the Campanile. 

After building approximately 75 layers of this 15 x 15 base, the columns can be added. On each side of the tower, there are five columns and three arches. The arch design can be accomplished by placing upside-down stairs and slabs between the columns, as there are no circular blocks in Minecraft. 

After placing these arches, another 15 x 15 square went on top. I chose to extend the square on the edges by one block on each side to emphasize the top of the balcony area, which is where the arches are. 

Then, I placed stone walls around the perimeter of the new 17 x 17 square piece in order to mimic as closely as possible the legitimate design of the Campanile’s top. I then put four small marble spires one block within the stone walls, and one large marble spire in the middle of the roof. At the top of the spires, I stacked two pieces of prismarine wall to get the blue color found at the tip of the Campanile.

After building this basic skeleton, I went back and made some edits to more accurately portray the building. I added chiseled quartz around the edges of each of the faces of the main tower to copy the special lines on the actual Campanile. The Campanile also has special dark rectangles every few meters on its faces, and so I incorporated those as well, via four smooth stone blocks every seven or eight blocks up the face. I also thought some lighting would be necessary to improve upon the aesthetic, so I covered the balcony area with glowstone, and added some more every few blocks or so on the spires.

In sum, the experience of building the Campanile was very rewarding. Would I do it again? Probably not. There are much better ways to spend five hours than building a clocktower in an outdated game. Am I glad I did it the first time? I’d say yes, but that’s only because my ego would be damaged if I said no.

Contact Hamzah Alam at [email protected].