As lockdown provided architects with the opportunity to reflect on their design processes, it prompted Morris + Company founder, Joe Morris, to create On reflection, a series of short films discussing the fundamentals of the practice, centring the conversation around model making as a critical element of design thinking and a wide-ranging architectural tool.
In the series, Morris reflects on model making as a means to navigate questions and ideas that arise during the design process, stressing its importance to the architecture practice at large. The video essays illustrate model making as the possibility to explore and provide answers to a vast array of interrogations about architecture, across a broad spectrum of scales and topics. In the vision of Joe Morris, models are "reflection, experiment, innovation, representation, abstraction, communication, question, answer, success and failure. This is their physical value.[…] When collected into a city of models, they become a body of thought with an immersive quality, embodying the cultural essence of our practice." Throughout the films, the architect details on the key role models play within the work of Morris + Company, while also touching on the current state of the architecture practice.
I see the architectural model as a lens for reflecting on practice, and the dilemma we are now presented with: the struggle between the analogue and the digital, the thing machined and the thing hand-crafted, between the virtual and the physical.
The idea for this series came with Joe Morris’ lecture for the Architecture Foundation’s 100 Day Studio, for which the practice created an impressive backdrop of architecture models. The impressive collection of models built over 16 years of practice makes for a very compelling image, but most importantly, the act of assemblage led to a deep introspection regarding model making as an indispensable design tool. Filmed by photographer and filmmaker Jim Stephenson, the video essays charm the viewer with the beautifully shot models, evocative of the spaces they depict. The teaser provides a glimpse into this universe of models that the practice has created.
The series is Morris + Company’s first experiment with the medium of film, although not the last as the studio plans to continue exploring this way of communicating their work. With the teaser for this series, the practice inaugurated a new Instagram feed, @moco_voices, which aims to bring into focus the people behind the studio’s projects, through a diverse array of media and resources.