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Model Making: The Latest Architecture and News

Our Readers Show Off Their Most Impressive Architectural Models

07:00 - 30 July, 2019

In many ways, architectural models are strange objects. On one hand, like drawings, models are a representation of something else—a building—that might exist already but in most cases is so far only hypothetical. On the other hand, they are miniature constructions in themselves, which can be appreciated for their craftsmanship and intricacy. Perhaps this is why architects find models so fascinating; they can be simultaneously admired as an object in themselves and as a vision of something greater.

Earlier this year, we asked our readers to send us images of their most impressive models, and the response clearly showed this fascination. We received photographs of a wide variety of models, from sensible and meticulously constructed miniatures to jaw-dropping expressive outbursts. From over 300 entries, we've narrowed down our readers' submissions to just 21 of the most awe-inspiring examples, splitting them into 5 categories to reflect the incredible range of ways that people have made their models worth looking at.

Pinecote Pavilion by Fay Jones / Model by Garrett Wineinger + Laura Leticia + Angelika Sophi. Image courtesy of Garrett Wineinger Type Variant House by VJAA / Model by Sarah Hefner, Ross Davidson + Zach Dawkins. Image courtesy of Sarah Hefner, Ross Davidson, Zach Dawkins Theater on Rundle Mountain / Dalton Kaun. Image courtesy of Dalton Kaun New Orleans Aquatic Center / Charles Weimer. Image courtesy of Charles Weimer + 90

WAY Studio Explore the Fun Side of Model-Making with a Series of LEGO Creations

08:00 - 2 June, 2019
WAY Studio Explore the Fun Side of Model-Making with a Series of LEGO Creations, © Way Studio
© Way Studio

Architects always find themselves searching for the most innovative ways of presenting their projects, going for elaborate models or Virtual Reality technologies driven by a passion for design, building, and creation. Perhaps this passion of architecture was triggered at an age earlier than expected, playing around with LEGO’s.

Now that LEGO has created an architecture-themed collection, the brand gave architecture lovers the opportunity to explore famous landmarks and recreate their structures with basic geometric blocks. Innovative architecture firm WAY Studio discovered the possibilities of model-making with LEGO’s and used its blocks as a design tool for a series of their projects.

© Way Studio © Way Studio © Way Studio © Way Studio + 12

Show Us Your Best Architectural Model Photos!

06:00 - 5 February, 2018
Show Us Your Best Architectural Model Photos!, A model of Peter Zumthor's Saint Benedict Chapel, built for Kenneth Frampton's "Studies in Tectonic Culture" class at Columbia GSAPP and <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/805658/these-intricate-architectural-models-will-change-how-you-see-their-famous-full-size-counterparts'>photographed by James Ewing for the exhibition "Stagecraft: Models and Photos"</a>. Image © James Ewing, Courtesy Columbia GSAPP
A model of Peter Zumthor's Saint Benedict Chapel, built for Kenneth Frampton's "Studies in Tectonic Culture" class at Columbia GSAPP and photographed by James Ewing for the exhibition "Stagecraft: Models and Photos". Image © James Ewing, Courtesy Columbia GSAPP

For a lot of architects, models hold a special place in our hearts. Whereas a building can take years to construct and usually can't be drastically altered as it nears completion, a model provides architects with the immediacy and flexibility we crave as designers while also allowing us to feel like we're really making something—a feeling that digital modeling software can rarely provide.

Models have even played decisive roles in the careers of many world-famous architects. Peter Zumthor, for example, is known to prefer the tactility of models over other forms of representation, while early in his career Steven Holl gained recognition for his visionary "Bridge of Houses" proposal for the Highline in New York, presented through a series of provocative models. And, physical models have even been key in some of the great advancements of the profession: In the 1990s, Frank Gehry's pioneering work in digital design involved tracing the forms of his digital models into CATIA software, whereas Frei Otto's models using soap films from the 1960s were key in his research into tensile structures.

Hyper-Realistic Buildings That Can Fit on Your Desk

08:00 - 5 December, 2017
© Ben Neale for Joshua Smith
© Ben Neale for Joshua Smith

South Australian artist, Joshua Smith has created yet another true-to-life miniature, a locksmith shop in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The miniature was created for an exhibition at the Arcade Art Gallery in Kaohsiung called, ‘When the Sun Goes Down’ as part of the Streets of Taiwan festival. Miniaturist Joshua Smith selected the shop by using google maps, with supplemental reference photos taken by the gallery -- Joshua has not been to Taiwan, let alone the shop itself.

© Ben Neale for Joshua Smith © Ben Neale for Joshua Smith © Ben Neale for Joshua Smith © Ben Neale for Joshua Smith + 11

These Intricate Architectural Models Will Change How You See Their Famous Full-Size Counterparts

09:30 - 19 February, 2017
These Intricate Architectural Models Will Change How You See Their Famous Full-Size Counterparts, © James Ewing, Courtesy Columbia GSAPP
© James Ewing, Courtesy Columbia GSAPP

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Kenneth Frampton on the Art & Artifice of Architectural Models."

For decades, students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation signed up for Kenneth Frampton’s legendary class, Studies in Tectonic Culture. The course tasked students with creating realistic representations of buildings “as a pedagogical exploration of the history of architectural tectonics”—and the models long spilled into the hallways of the architecture school before being hidden away in the archives.

Now, the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery has decided to pull some of these models out from obscurity and display them in a whole new light for the show Stagecraft: Models and Photos, which opened February 9th. Produced during the 1990s and early 2000s, the models are of significant 20th-century buildings around the world, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samuel Freeman House to Peter Zumthor’s St. Benedict Chapel.

16 Tips To Improve Your Model-Making Skills

09:30 - 21 November, 2016
© Tim Viktorsson
© Tim Viktorsson

Virtual 3D Modeling has for decades been increasing in its popularity, yet hand-made models are far from extinct. Perhaps a reason for this is that despite the "3D" in "3D modeling," viewing those models on a screen or print is still, effectively, two-dimensional. A physical model of course can be held in your hand, examined and understood spatially in a way that a CAD model can’t. It can also be used as a quick and intuitive 3D sketch to get some ideas going. Whether it's for a client or a professor, models are almost always necessary in order to produce a complete understanding of the relationship between spaces in your design. To make the most use of this tool, read on for tips on how to improve your modeling:

© Fruzsi Boutros © Jakob Breidablik, Panuela Aasted, Ane Norderhus, Christian Graugaard © Tim Viktorsson, Aja Borby Ørtenblad, Andreas Zacho, Klaus Wahid Knudsen © Tim Viktorsson + 19

How I Developed Ergo Kiwi, an Ergonomic Craft Knife that Your Fingers Will Thank You For

09:30 - 19 January, 2016
How I Developed Ergo Kiwi, an Ergonomic Craft Knife that Your Fingers Will Thank You For, © Christian Borger
© Christian Borger

If you've been through architecture school you're probably wary of craft knives, which can puncture the skin of an non-alert, caffeinated student at a fraction of a second's notice. Even if you manage to avoid the hospital, though, these scourges of the studio still know how to hurt you: their designs are the antithesis of ergonomics, making a marathon modeling session a mighty endurance battle against hand cramps and joint pain. Aiming for a more comfortable solution, architecture graduate Sean Riley developed the Ergo Kiwi, and today is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help bring the product to market.

In addition, Riley has also meticulously cataloged his design and production process. At ArchDaily, we thought it gave a fascinating insight into not only the design of Ergo Kiwi, the but the steps involved in developing and bringing to market a convincing product. As a result, we invited him to share his story.

Courtesy of Sean Riley © Christian Borger Courtesy of Sean Riley © Christian Borger + 27

Symposium: Model Making In The Digital Age

00:00 - 17 February, 2015
Symposium: Model Making In The Digital Age, Courtesy of University of Manchester / SEED
Courtesy of University of Manchester / SEED

An upcoming conference at the University of Manchester will tackle the idea of Model Making In The Digital Age. Based on the premise that the world of architecture is dominated by digital tools today more than ever, from design and manufacturing to the ways in which we visualise complex spaces and structures physically and virtually, this symposium seeks to shed new light on the practice of model making and its uses.

VIDEO: The Models of Richard Meier

00:00 - 11 June, 2014

Richard Meier’s Models on Nowness.com

Through the passage of time and technology, models remain integral in Richard Meier's office. No only are they tactile, visceral objects that represent space in way a computer simply cannot, but they also serve as "remembrances" for Meier (after all, the clients get to keep the buildings themselves). In the video above, NOWNESS gives us a sneak peek into Richard Meier's Model Museum at Mana Contemporary in New Jersey, where many of Meier's 300+ models now call home. Enjoy!