Architectural Models of Constructive Details: Examples of Representation and Utility

It's not easy to find theory in the implementation of architectural models: a practical model that allows you to analyze and showcase the organization of material elements according to a particular process. They also allow you to detect and modify the key elements of a project while also addressing the project's executive procedures. 

Together with architectonic construction details, the development of the constructive facets is pushed to the background up until the ultimate steps of the design process, but this is also when we identify what is appropriate for a certain stage in the process in order to facilitate a seamless execution.

In the search to bring ourselves closer to the presentation and utility of architectural models, we invite you to take a look at a series of examples:

1. Constructive Processes of Structures

For some projects, architectural models are fundamental in bringing the project to fruition, like in the case of Bamboo models where the characteristics of the building material must be tested and catered to if it is to be utilized properly.

Casa Convento / Enrique Mora Alvarado. Image via Enrique Mora Alvarado

In other cases, architectural models and forms have made it possible to understand the importance of the design of the auxiliary structures in the construction sequences.

© Jakob Breidablik, Panuela Aasted, Ane Norderhus, Christian Graugaard

In this sense, we also find architectural models in the work of Antonio Gaudi and Richard Buckminster Fuller that give equal attention to both the development of structural balance and integral construction systems. 

Reproducción facsímil de la maqueta polifunicular de la Colonia Güell. Image via Wikipedia user: SecondNews licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
via Flickr user ©POET ARCHITECTURE Licensed Under Public Domain Mark 1.0. Image

2. Details of Findings

In architectural design, architectural models allow us to pinpoint and understand issues that need to be resolved in a particular project. 

Ensambles de madera en la arquitectura japonesa tradicional. Image Cortesía de Torashichi Sumiyoshi y Gengo Matsui
Wooden Structures: Shooting Room and Boxing Club / FT Architects. Image © Shigeo Ogawa

Among some examples, we find wood-assembled models in traditional Japanese architecture that illustrate the pairing of bricks and stone walls and allow us to see their particular characteristics and variations. 

Estudiantes construyen muros de ladrillo en disposición algorítmica. Image Cortesía de Valeska Cirano

Architectural Models of Constructive Details: Examples of Representation and Utility - More Images+ 15

3. The Working of Mechanisms

Another possible use for architectural models is highlighting the development of mechanisms and the understanding of the structural system. Daniel Moreno Flores and Sebastian Claro's RDP House is a good example of this.

In this same way, using an architectural model is an effective means of analyzing structural variables in architecture, which allows us to see the overall behavior of the structure. 

Este sistema estructural de cilindros neumáticos y policarbonato puede reconfigurarse a partir de la Tensegridad. Image Cortesía de Kuan-Ting Lai

4. Material Finishes

Along with displaying a structure's details and finishing touches, hyper-realist architectural models like those of Joshua Smith, the miniaturist who builds complete worlds to a scale of 1.20, are interesting forms of representing a project.

Surreal buildings that fit on your desk. Image © © Ben Neale para Joshua Smith

In relation with scale, experiments on finishing materials done at the RICD-ITK Research Pavillion 2013-14 at the University of Stuttgart show the potential of using large-scale models in research in order to give us a more accurate view of a project's final result.

ICD-ITKE Pabellón de Investigación 2013-14 / ICD-ITKE Universidad de Stuttgart. Image Cortesía de ICD-ITKE

5. Digital Fabrication

Currently, design using computers has not only increased the speed of production of detailed models; it has also reduced discrepancies found between models and their completed structures. 

"50 Digital Wood Joints" by Ladycartoonist is licensed under "CC BY-NC-SA 3.0" . Image

One type of fitting can quickly verify itself by means of a laser cutter or 3D printing and even produce real structural pieces for the final work. 


Piedra digitalizada: propuesta de albañilería inteligente. Image Cortesía de ZAarchitects

With these types of models, precision without second guessing is an essential factor, so, whatever your intentions may be, you can follow these tips.


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About this author
Cite: Dejtiar, Fabian. "Architectural Models of Constructive Details: Examples of Representation and Utility" [Maquetas de detalles constructivos: ejemplos de representación y utilidad] 01 Oct 2018. ArchDaily. (Trans. Johnson, Maggie) Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

<a href=''>The models are fundamental to realize these bamboo projects</a>. Image © Eduardo Souza


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