Modeling for Purpose & Communication

Some architecture professionals, and those of us in related design fields, may lament the demise of architectural model making. In fact, the clients we work with might too (though they might not know what great things they’re missing).

This collection of images (and the sites/posts they link to) will indicate otherwise. Model making, and its ability to communicate effectively, is alive and well (if perhaps not employed often enough!). All too frequently in the digital age, its often easiest to create an on-screen representation and leave it at that. In 3D, its possible to more effectively communicate the design, as well as review any aspect over and over or from a new angle.

Architectural study models are often done quickly. Their purpose to aid in design work on massing, spatial relationships, scale, interaction of volumes, etc. A presentation model is one shown to a client. It is a skillfully crafted & meticulously scaled model of the proposed structure.

Enjoy a look through this group of physical models…

A model can allow us to view through…

Campus Novarits, Frank Gehry
… or can show plan and section views together.
Kew House, Piercy & Co 2012
A model can communicate movement…
Selvika National Tourist Route in Norway
…and sense of scale.
Disney Concert Hall, Frank Gehry
I often prefer models that are lit, for the extra detail they can provide.
Church Of The Light, Tadao Ando 1989
Street view in Tirane Albania, G Struga 2012
Winery, CCASlovakian Residential Development Project
Villa Vita Cancer Centre
Here’s a true study model of a lightwell design, to look at element angles effects on light delivery.
(click thru to see the other versions made & analyzed – which do you prefer?)
Coneptual Lightwell Study
Model making can also be a colorful or whimsical obsession…
387 Houses, Peter Fritz, 2013 Venice Biennale
Paperholm GIF, Charles Young
 …and can even be done at full scale!
Borromini’s San Carlo Church at full scale, Mario Botta


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