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  • Writer's picturemaxvasher

Architectural Model Making

Architectural model making is one of the most rewarding and productive aspects of my design process. One of my primary jobs during my apprenticeship with Bart Prince was building physical models. He marvels at the new computer aided model rendering technology but still swears by the physical model for various important reasons that I may get around to discussing in this post. Early in my practice I neglected the process in favor of computer aided modeling and in the name of time management. However, recent projects and the clients' subsequent responses are compelling me to start including the practice again. I'm able to make the practice time/cost effective because of my past experience and ability to make them quickly and effectively, but also because I've chosen a small scale which limits the level of detail and therefore time that the model can demand or require. Clients love them at any size. As most architects probably think, myself included, the detail and rendering possible with computer models will really get the clients engaged and informed of the design intent. The greatest challenge a designer can have is relaying the design intent of a project to someone that may not speak the language of architecture and design. Architects, artists, and designers of all sorts all have the special ability to envision a design and it's easy for creatives to assume that everyone else does as well. But they don't. The famous saying 'I don't know about art but I know what I like' rings true for most.

And clients like physical models, it's as simple as that. The idea is right there in physical form right in front of them. They can touch it, move around it, fly over it, study it and (most importantly to my work) see it within a landscape. They can't get inside of it but all of the sudden they allow themselves to gain the ability to envision themselves within the thing. Computer models can virtually take the viewer inside, but computer models are still viewed on a 2-D surface, a screen or paper; they are not truly three dimensional. Something about a three dimensional object in space, a physical model, truly engages the creative sense in anybody whether they've been to design school or not.

Normally, the final product or model is all anyone gets to see. I thought for this post it might be fun to present a series of photos as this model was built to completion.

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