Miniature Construction: Modeling From Structure to Finish

Everyone loves models, but not everyone loves making them. For some, models bring up memories of fingers full of dry glue, cuts from sharp pieces, wasted materials, and large doses of frustration. For others, with the unique ability to physicalize drawings easily and beautifully, making small-scale models can even be fun. But, of course, on the internet, there will always be someone who can take any activity to unbelievable levels of achievement. In model building, the OUROBOROS ARQ YouTube channel takes this role. With almost 2 million subscribers, and videos with over 50 million views, the channel documents the construction processes of highly complex miniature buildings.

What do these construction processes look like? In a common model, a wall might be made with a piece of cardboard or perhaps a sheet of balsa wood. However, in models developed by Frank Perez, the Colombian architect who created OUROBOROS ARQ, the buildings are constructed in almost the same way as a full-scale one, using the same materials and construction methods on a smaller scale. This involves digging holes to build foundations, bending wires to produce ironwork, pouring concrete into 2 cm wide shapes and even stacking small ceramic bricks and then plastering them with tiny spatulas. Neither plumbing nor electrical wiring are left out!

Perez's experience with modeling began while in school for architecture, where his first experimentations were made. Some time later, the idea to document his process on a YouTube channel came up. “For me, it is important that the models have a high level of realism in the construction aspect, as this can give an idea of how a house is, in fact, built. Of course, this cannot be done 100% accurately, as the scale does not allow it. ”

According to Frank, the process of making a complete model currently takes between 2 and 3 months. “The execution is a little tedious, although having developed several models already has helped streamline my work. I try to do all the steps in construction but, often, some aspects are complicated and time-consuming, and it may be impossible to find certain materials. Most parts, materials, and tools are manufactured in my workshop, and I most commonly work on the 1:10 scale. ”

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Alongside OUROBOROS ARQ, other channels with the same theme were created around the world. Still, according to the creator, “there is no solid community; and because it is so new there is still a lot to explore. With the exchange of knowledge and criticism from other content creators, we could make the activity more impactful than a simple trend on social networks. ”

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More than representations, these models are highly pedagogical, exposing each of the stages of a construction in an extremely simple manner. When we know the processes, the difficulties, and the potential problems of modeling, our projects also become much better. From masonry walls, wood framing, roof lumber, and even the application of thermal insulation, the channel covers a wide variety of stages and challenges. But, of course, we hope that no project teacher will ask for a model like that in our next studio presentation!

Find these and other videos here.

About this author
Cite: Souza, Eduardo. "Miniature Construction: Modeling From Structure to Finish" [Construção em miniatura: maquetes da estrutura aos acabamentos] 06 Oct 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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