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.
"There is an existential need for simplification." - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
The Father of “Less is More”
Mies espoused the concept of “less is more” long before the days of Building Information Modeling. As a director of the Bauhaus School, he sought to establish an architectural style that could serve as the Modern alternative to Classic or Gothic styles. His design focus was on clarity and simplicity.
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.
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. MiniaturistJoshua 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.
Each material has its own peculiarities and, when using it for building, the design and construction process must accommodate these characteristics. A steel-framed building, for example, must be designed with a certain level of accuracy so that components and parts, usually manufactured off-site, fit together during assembly. A wooden building can have its cross sections drastically modified according to the species and strength of the wood used, or even according to the direction of the loads in relation to their fibers. With bamboo, no pole is exactly the same and each one tapers and curves differently, which requires a different approach when designing and building.
But how is it possible to work with a material with so many challenges and possibilities?
The exhibition "Gothic: The Age of the Great Cathedrals" will begin in Switzerland in December 2017 in the choir of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Fribourg. It will go to the Cathedral of Bern (Berner Münster, Cathedral of Bordeaux and Church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois in Paris. The idea of this project is a journey through the extraordinary saga of these great medieval buildings. This adventure begins with the construction of the Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis, the place where Gothic art was born. Throughout the exhibition, the visitors will discover secrets of 17 monuments chosen among the most beautiful, the most emblematic. They will encounter this medieval art movement that has overwhelmed Europe and wished to build always higher, larger and more beautifully!
The representation of architecture is important in the absence of tangible space. Throughout a lifetime, even the most devoted, well-travelled design enthusiast will experience only a small percentage of architectural works with their own eyes. Consider that we exist in only one era of architectural history, and the percentage reduces even further. Many architectural works go unbuilt, and the buildings we experience in person amount to a grain of sand in a vast desert.
Then we consider the architecture of the future. For buildings not yet built, representation is not a luxury, but a necessity to test, communicate and sell an idea. Fortunately, today’s designers have unprecedented means to depict ideas, with an explosion in technology giving us computer-aided drafting, photo-realistic rendering, and virtual reality. Despite these vast strides, however, the tools of representation are a blend of old and new – from techniques which have existed for centuries, to the technology of our century alone. Below, we give five answers to the question of how architecture should be depicted before it is built.
Joshua Smith, a miniaturist and former stencil artist based in South Australia, constructs tiny, intricate worlds for a living. His work, which exhibits astonishing observational and representational skills, focuses on the "overlooked aspects of the urban environment – such as grime, rust and decay to discarded cigarettes and graffiti," all recreated at a scale of 1:20. Smith, who has been making model kits for around a decade, only recently chose to move away from a 16-year-long career creating stencil art. With his creative talents now focused on model-making, and all those skills which accompany the craft, ArchDaily asks: how do you do it?
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.
Chilean art and architecture studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s “Finite Format” exhibition is currently on display at one of the most important cultural sites in the Czech Republic: The House of Art of Ceske Budějovice. Composed of more than 480 paintings (Finite Format) and six ink drawings (Infinite Motive), the installation aims to demonstrate the firm’s “underlying method to understand not only the artistic qualities in a work of architecture but also the architectonic attributes of a work of art,” according to the architects.
In parallel, Pezo von Ellrichshausen also carried out a workshop with 14 architecture students from the Technical University of Liberec to conceptualize and construct a twelve-square-meter scale model for the "Infinite Motive" installation. Using the circle as the basic element, the architects reflect on how “architectonic intentions may be diluted by means of the repetition of a single figure with a diverse range of dimensions.”
There are few mediums that the Grimm Brother's Fairy Tales haven't been adapted into. Bowdlerized stories and films for children have since given way to revisionist tales that embrace the gruesome coloring of the originals, but something about the Grimm Brothers' gothic folklore still holds sway over popular imagination around the world. No matter what kind of adaptation is created - musical, childlike or modernized - the essential Grimmness of the tales still glowers through. FleaFolly'sGrimm City is just such a creation.
It's a well-known fact that architects, almost without exception, love the 1982 film Blade Runner. Architects also love scale models. So what could possibly be more exciting than seeing photos of the model shop of the film? Enter this Imgur album of 142 photos from behind the scenes, posted earlier this week by user minicity. After the break, check out our selection of images of the Tyrell Corporation's imposing pyramidal fortress, among other things, under construction.
Between 1945 and 1981 around 170 million prefabricated (prefab) residential units were constructed worldwide. Now, as part of a study undertaken by Pedro Alonso and Hugo Palmarola of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile between 2012 and 2014, an exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art features 28 large concrete panel systems from between 1931 and 1981.In so doing, it explores a transnational circulation of these objects of construction, "weaving them into a historical collage of ambitions and short-lived enthusiasm for utopian dreams."
This show, curated by Meira Yagid-Haimovici, is an attempt to reveal "how architecture and urbanism was charged with historical, social, and political narratives, and how the modernist vision promoted the fusion of aesthetics and politics." The models, which are being exhibited as part of the Production Routes exhibition, seek to highlight the richness embodied in 'generic' architecture through the lens of prefab construction methods.
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.
Physical model making can be time intensive and expensive. However, thanks to the makers of Arckit, that has changed. Based on a panel by panel modular system and a standard 1.2 meter grid, the newly released Arckit provides an easy-to-use, flexible model building system that allows architects to quickly construct and modify a diverse range of scaled structures. Architect tested and approved, the kit is currently available for purchase in the EU, US, Amazon and now Barnes and Noble.
To celebrate its success, the makers of Arckit have agreed to gift 5 ArchDaily readers their largest, most expensive set: Arckit 240, a 620+ piece kit valued at $399. For a chance to win, check out all four sets available on the Arckit website and enter the sweepstakes after the break.
The skyline of San Francisco is in the process of significant transformation. Projects such as OMA's 550-foot residential tower, as well as developments in the pipeline from Foster + Partners and Studio Gang, are sure to change the city dramatically - thankfully, the 3D printed model in this video is there to show exactly how. The 6x6 foot model shows 115 blocks of downtown San Francisco as it will appear in 2017, and was created by visualization company Steelblue and Autodesk. Claimed to be the largest 3D printed model of a city in the world, it can show much more than just how San Francisco's downtown will look: overlaid projections can show the status of each building, projected traffic patterns and more. Furthermore, each block is individually replaceable to keep the model up to date. Watch the video, and find out more about the model through this article from SFGate.
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!
As BIM (Building Information Modeling) slowly finds broader acceptance in the architecture and engineering of individual buildings, perhaps it is time to consider the next scale: the city. Just like virtual models help us design and understand buildings and embed information, virtual city simulations could have an application in real city planning, allowing us to go from “flat” GIS to three dimensional information modeling that includes terrain, infrastructure, buildings and public spaces. Could virtual cities be the answer to "smart cities"? Find out after the break.