Opening Hours Update

Happy New Year folks,

Just a quick update about opening hours in the coming weeks. In general we’re open the same standard hours 9.30-13.00 (Lunch break 13.00-14.00) 14.00-16.30 Monday to Friday. The following days however we’ll be closed or open half day for various reasons:

Tuesday 24th January – Closed in the morning, Open from 14.00 as normal.

Friday 27th January – Open as normal in the morning, Closed from 13.00.

Wednesday 1st February – Open as normal in the morning, Closed from 13.00.

Any further updates will be posted here.

See you soon, B.15 Team

Workshop X-Mas Opening Hours

Hi folks,

Just a quick update for you about workshop opening hours over the next month

The workshop will be closed from 12.00 on Thursday December 15th and re-open on  Wednesday January 4th from 09.30.

Thanks to everyone who has joined us over the last couple of months, hope you all have a good break and switch off for a few weeks!

Scott, Paulina, Angus & Lara @ B.15

Welcome to B.15 at MSA 2022/23

Welcome to all new and returning students as we begin another academic year. We’ve been very busy throughout the summer months putting into effect many months of planning to improve your modelmaking resource.

When are we open? 

Before explaining those updates we’ve had a few of you eager to get started so please note the following dates over the next few weeks are closed all day for new starter inductions:

Wednesday 5th October

MArch Session 1

Thursday 6th October

MA Architecture + Adaptive Reuse

MA Landscape Y1

Friday 7th October

MA Architecture and Urbanism Session 1

Monday 10th October

BA1 (Full cohort)

Tuesday 11th October

BA3 Catch-up from 15.00

Wednesday 12th October

MArch Session 2

Thursday 13th October

MA Landscape Y2

BA3 Catch-up

 CATCH-UP UPDATES BELOW (Workshop Closed to General Access) 

Friday 21st October

MArch Catch-up (Morning only)

Monday 24th October 

BA2 Catch-up (Morning only)

Monday 7th November

MA A+U Catch up (Morning)

BA1 Catch up (Afternoon)

After this point there will be a few other catch-up days TBC but generally speaking we’ll be open as normal 9.30-13.00 14.00-16.30 Monday to Friday during term time from Friday 14th October. 

So what’s new? 

Upgraded CNC router

We were able to upgrade and replace our ageing CNC machine with a new Isel M40 Overhead CNC router complete with automated tool changer for quicker job times.

This machine can be used in the production of 2D profile components and 3D models workable in 3 axis such as landscaping or organic extruded forms. The exact spec for file formatting and preparation work required will be outlined in an upcoming guide. Should you wish to discuss a project that might require the use of this machine drop in a speak to a member of B.15 staff.

Getting this in the building and in place was a task and a half that would not have been possible without the technicians at the Manchester Museum who supported with their time and equipment for a day and a half.


We now have an additional space increasing our capacity to allow an up to an additional 15 students to work in that area. Located on the opposite side of the basement, room B.12 will serve as a dedicated space for the following resources. You’ll see signage for this space and if you’re being inducted, will be shown around. Please don’t go to this room without discussing your project with a member of staff in B.15 first as it will only be opened as required.

Moulding and Casting

Due to popular demand we now have a dedicated space for moulding and casting. This is equipped with a permanent working and storage spaces and a new fume cabinet allowing us to offer the new option of working with casting resins.

3D Printers

In addition to this our 3 types of high-end 3D printer are now located alongside each other with a range of material types and colours listed in the updated materials list. All printers are available for use via a conversation with a member of B.15 staff.

Cricut Paper plotter

Replacing the Graphtec plotter which was primarily used for Papermetrics projects we have now invested in a Cricut machine which will be located in the new workshop space. Formatting instructions will be added to the CAD file prep page for reference.

Photographic Studio

We have invested in a newly fitted out photographic studio. The space features overhead gantry and free standing controllable lighting with 3 colour backdrops. This area is available for use on request and will only require booking for busy periods.


For new starters, your tutors will inform you about your upcoming induction schedule. As part of your inductions you’ll be asked to familiarise yourself with the B.15 General users guide. You can find the updated one here if you want to get ahead with this. Please try and get to us on time to help keep things to schedule and speed you along to start making with us.

With the main studios being moved to Manchester Technology Centre we thought it worth giving you some pointers to find us if you are unfamiliar. You can watch our brief intro here:

And with that we look forward to seeing you at you induction time or for those returning students, when you wish to begin your new projects with us.

More updates to follow soon!

Scott, Angus & Paulina (More about us here) 

B.15 HENN modelmaking Awards 2022 Longlist and Shortlist now online

Thanks to all who have submitted to this years modelmaking awards! We received a huge 65 submissions across all year groups. This has been reviewed by our collaborators at HENN and a highly commended shortlist of 14 has been selected and informed.

This process is always very difficult and often hard to call one way or another. As far as we’re concerned all models are fantastic so all students should be proud to have engaged with this process and sometimes challenging craft.

The complete longlist can now be viewed here

The Shortlist


Louis Walsh BA1
Cara Russell BA3
Anita Luburic BA3
Ruben Greyson BA3
Hannah Knight BA3
Fanny Bois-Berlioz BA3
Trisha Pradhan MArch2
Nur Farah Afiqah MArch2
Daryl Law and Jin Lee MArch2
Joeseph Cox and George Williams MArch2
Millie Evans MArch2
Adam Valman & Hayden Moores MArch2
Grace Corris and Karolina Vachalova MArch2
Megan Pledger  MArch2

Congratulations to all who took part and good luck to the 14 who will have their work judged on Friday 10th June by HENN.

Winners will be announced at approximately 18.00 on the 8th floor of Chatham to mark the start of the private view event.

Good luck to everyone and thanks for taking part and working with us this year,

Scott, Angus, Paulina and on behalf of HENN, Oliver, Pete and Dennis

B.15 Modelmaking Awards 2022 in collaboration with HENN


It’s that time of year again when the workshop days are loud, long and fruitful. As many students put the finishing touches to their models and head to the photography studio we’re pleased to announce a new collaboration with German Architectural practice HENN.

“We are proud to announce HENN will be collaborating with B.15 and the MSA for the 2022 Model Making Awards. At our studios in Munich, Berlin and Beijing, model making plays an integral role in our design process and how we perceive projects, and it’s very inspiring to see the possibilities of design through making in an academic environment.

For the past two years, we have participated in the judging of the Awards remotely and we are very excited to have the opportunity this year to see students’ work in-person. Looking forward to the show and we wish you all the best with your submissions!”


What are the awards? 

There are 4 equal awards given to students of any course and any year group at MSA. They are judged on a mix of reasoning, skill and final product and it’s important to note, no single criteria – all models are of interest. The award recognises the use of modelmaking in your design work for the 2021/22 academic year and consists of a cash prize and other items.

What are we looking for? 

Any individual or group projects from the 2021/22 academic year where modelmaking has been used to explore, develop or present your studio work, whatever it is and whatever it is made from, if it’s a model that helped you tell the story of your project it’s worthy of submission! Shortlisting will look for originality, build quality, materials choice and overall execution to make a decision on the final candidates.

What to you need to do and when?

Submissions must follow the format as provided in the InDesign template that you can download below. You must stick to the formatting of this page to maintain consistency in the submissions document. That includes the font which is also included in the download link following the criteria below. You can see examples of past submissions here. 

Submission Criteria

• Maximum 350 Words in the main body of text explaining:
a) Your project in brief, What was the purpose of your model(s)?
b) Your use of modelmaking at home/the workshop: scale, material and processes that you have used and why.

• Place 3 to 6 images of your modelmaking work (over the 2 pages) in its completed state these can include process images. Use captions to explain image content as shown in the example document.

• Models may have been completed from home, on campus, or a mix of both. Please clearly explain this whatever the case.

• Titles should be formatted as per the example. The main Text should be in Effra Font Size 10 (file included in the pack below if you don’t have it on your computer)

• 2 x Portrait A4 pages only

• Saved as a 2 Page PDF

If your submission does not conform to these guidelines it will not be included in the final document for judging.

Please submit your work by downloading this pack (Contains InDesign Template, Fonts and Example submission)

All submission must be received by 12.00 on Monday June 6th.

Send your submissions to 

Projects will be shortlisted by HENN and announced by the end of June 8th.

Work will be judged in person on June 10th and the resulting award winners will be announced with other school prizes at the End of Year show on Friday June 10th approximately 18.00, 8th Floor Chatham. 

Some FAQWhat if my work isn’t on show? Please get in touch with us. We hope to display all entries that are shortlisted but not scheduled to feature in the end of year show at B.15 for judges to view on June 10th.

I didn’t use the workshop to make my model can I still submit? YES – this is an award for good use of modelmaking not exclusively about models made in workshops.I don’t think my work is good enough should I submit? YES – all modelmaking work submitted will be included in a combined document for Judges to see and for prospective employers and professionals to view via our blog. It can’t hurt to show off your hard work alongside your fellow course-mates and may lead to a job!I haven’t done a ‘final model’, should I submit? YES – the awards are not about final models exclusively but consider the use of all kinds of models for all stages of your projects.I have more than one model, can I submit them all? YES – many submissions are made up of multiple models (see previous submissions) so please feel free to include multiple models and describe them in your accompanying text.What if I’m in a group and we both want to submit? Group projects can submit as one and will be considered as a single submission. If a group wins then the prize will be split accordingly.

Best of luck with your submissions and the show build. We look forward to seeing your submissions!

Scott, Paulina, Angus and on behalf of HENN architects, Pete, Oliver and Dennis

Easter Break and Late Opening

Hi All,

A quick update regarding opening dates over the coming Easter Break.

Week of the 11th – 14th (Friday 15th Bank Holiday)- Open

Week of the 18th – 22nd – Closed

Week of the 25th onwards Open as normal

Late opening

Beginning next week B.15 will be open for an additional 3 hours between 16.30-19.30 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to assist with projects ahead of final submissions and in the lead up to the end of year show.

To make use of these additional times students will need to book to attend. Please get in touch via email ( or drop in to the workshop to discuss your project needs and we’ll book time as required. In the first instance we’ll be doing this on the following dates:

12th, 13th & 14th April

26th, 27th & 28th April

If these prove popular we may arrange additional dates in the following week.

If you have any questions please get in touch,

Scott, Paulina & Angus @ B.15

Updates for 2022

Welcome back to a new year at MSA. We hope you’ve had a good break and are ready to get back to the tools. There are a few changes to make you aware of for this year as follows.

New Staff 

There are now two new members of staff following Saul Parker-Backhouse leaving last month. Please join me in welcoming Paulina Voang and Angus Riddell to the B.15 team. 

Both will be on hand to support your modelmaking needs. They have taken the time to explain their background below:

Angus Riddell

“I am a recent graduate of the Manchester School of Architecture, where I completed my MArch last year, and had previously studied at the Glasgow School of Art. I have experience working as an Architectural Assistant, as well as time spent working in a number of cabinetry and carpentry workshops. I have also undertaken carpentry work on a self-employed basis.

Throughout my studies and work experience I have developed a strong interest in model making, particularly casting and woodworking processes. Additionally I am also interested in furniture design, woodcut printmaking and material economies.

Having relatively recently been a student working in the B.15 Workshop, I am looking forward to bringing my experience and knowledge into this new role to work with current students to foster creative and experimental architectural models and objects.”

Paulina Voang

“I have previously worked as an architectural modelmaker at Richard Threadgill Associates, London. This further developed my passion and understanding of architectural model making After relocating to Manchester I broadened my skillset working within the theatre industry as a Prop and Set Maker for local and West End productions for several years.

Outside of my different work experience I have a strong interest in creating wire sculptures. I have completed many personal projects and commissions over the years. These sculptures range from architectural to more playful subjects.

I am keen to help students discover the varied and imaginative ways model making supports their projects at B.15 Workshop.”

Workshop access & Covid precautions 

With the ongoing strange situation surrounding the pandemic things are still not quite how they were but we are still open for students to access everything we have on offer. 

All in person sessions should take place with mandatory mask wearing as per the rest of University of Manchester guidelines at present. We can provide masks if you do not have your own. Sanitising stations are at the workshop entrance and within the room. These measures are tiresome we know but necessary to reduce the chance of any spread between your peers and ourselves. Please respect these rules and do your bit until this time passes.

Online –Tutorials 

If you want to discuss your project online before coming in to work please fill our the tutorial request form and we’ll get back to you to chat as soon as possible. We strongly advise this route to ensure there is space allocated for you to attend and start your project.


Anyone wanting to discuss their projects is free to drop in to the workshop during our opening hours (9.30-13.00 14.00-16.30 Monday to Friday). It may be that there is no space to actually begin work at that time so email ahead or book an online tutorial to be certain we can accommodate you.

B.15 Tote Bags

Due to pressure for the fashion industry we have agreed to once again offer a stunning tote bag to the world. 100% Recycled cotton with screen printed B.15 and MSA logos, these bags are not available on the high street (a deal with Marks and Spencer fell through due to creative differences).

Available at B.15 and FREE to MSA Students!

See you soon,

Scott, Paulina & Angus



Remembering Peter Howcroft and John Bishop

I was first introduced to John and Peter as part of our 45th anniversary project back in 2014/15. John had been contacted as he had fond memories of the early days of B.15 being set up and the important hub of social and design activity that it has become known for within the school. John was able to track down Peter who had been a regular visitor and part time assistant to the workshops first manager, Ken Peacock.

Peter was a true craftsman with a passion for making at all scales. He was the son of Thomas Howcroft who had also worked as a lecturer at the University of Manchester. By the time I met Peter he had suffered from ill health for some years but was absolutely full of life when it came to making things and working with his hands. He reflected about his upbringing, influences and passion for making in this video interview by Tony Sutton.

John was extremely supportive of the then new joint agreement and helped establish the early workings of MSA in the mid to late 90’s. Principal Lecturer Eamonn Canniffe recalled “John taught many students at Manchester in the 70s 80s and 90s and was ahead of his time in his interest in making, the relationship between art & architecture and the widening of access to education in architecture and the built environment”.

We interviewed them both for our 45th anniversary celebrations which was highly amusing and insightful. Since that time both John and Peter have stayed in touch with the workshop but in the chaos of the pandemic we had not heard from them for some time.

Sadly we learned that Peter had passed away in January this year and just last month that John had also passed. The were huge advocates of the importance of modelmaking in architectural education and we’d like to acknowledge their lives with this extended version of our joint interview that took place back in 2014.

Rest in Peace

Scott, Saul & Jim


Welcome to 2021/22

Hello and welcome to new and returning students!

This year we hope to return to some level of normality for your workshop access with some changes following the easing of lockdown rules. Many students last year commented that they benefitted from having discussions before they attended the workshop so we’ve decided to retain their aspect of the general access procedure. In short, if you want advice or access please get in touch here.

Work spaces will be limited to pre booked spaces via the aforementioned link. You can still ask for advice in person but booking for workspace is advised.

Covid precautions

Whilst there is some signs of general improvement to the pandemic situation we strongly recommend wearing face masks whilst working in the workshop. This is a curtesy to others as much as additional protection for yourself. Please remember to sanitise/hand wash before beginning to work and throughout your session.

Social distancing for general working is also advised and markers are positioned at designated workspaces as a reminder.

New printer

Earlier in the summer we took delivery of a new FDM 3D printer, the Stratasys F370. This new FDM offers a larger build area and wider range of materials to choose from and is cheaper to run than our previous FDM. Get in touch to find out more if you think this may have a use in your project.









Intro video

New starters should have received a link to this video giving an overview of Modelmaking and technical resources available to MSA students across MMU/UoM. If you missed it here it is:

Getting started with us

As stated in the video please get in touch via the tutorial request link to discuss your projects and book time in the workshop.

You can come to the workshop for in person advice but we can’t guarantee we’ll be free to chat so recommend using the tutorial link to speak when you want to get started.

Familiarise yourself with the Workshop Health and Safety guidelines in this handbook.

Starter tools and materials – 4D Modelshop

We recommend equipping yourselves with basic tools and materials to enable sketch modelling from home and in your future model making projects whilst studying architecture. We have an arrangement with 4D Modelshop who supply a wide range of tools and materials to the professional model makers in the UK and beyond. Register for your MSA student discount and find the recommended items on their dedicated MSA Page here: 

Hopefully this year will be kinder to us all. We look forward to seeing you soon to start making!

Scott & Saul @ B.15

MSA Students Workshop Feedback Survey

Hi All,

Hope you’re keeping well wherever you are!

As we look forward to the next academic year we’ve been asked to gather some feedback about how workshop services have continued since the pandemic changed everything for us.

We would be grateful if you would take a few minutes to fill out this short survey here or below to allow us to assess what has worked that you have enjoyed and any suggestions for what we might change going forward.

I appreciate this isn’t the most enjoyable task but it helps us plan for the coming year and beyond – your opinions are essential!

Thanks in advance!

Scott & Saul @ B.15