CNC Software Issues – Machine Out of Action

Be advised that we are experiencing some software issues with our CNC router. This may mean a knock on effect with booked jobs. The issue is ongoing and may not be rectified for the next few days. Please check in with us if you are booked to use the machine. If your project is urgent we recommend checking availability at MMU and FAB Lab Manchester as an alternative.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused. We will post an update when the issue is rectified.

Scott and Jim


Dr Raymond Lucas to Chair ‘Modelmaking in the Digital Age’ Symposium

We are very pleased to announce that our own Dr Raymond Lucas will be our chair speaker for ‘Modelmaking in the Digital Age‘ taking place on March 9th. Ray will be introducing and overseeing the converse of our day to help get the insights we all want to get from our fantastic group of visiting speakers.

Dr Lucas has recently been appointed as Head of Architecture in Humanities at the University of Manchester and as such will have a close relationship with our workshop activities in future.

His involvement teaching at MSA and research with the Manchester Architectural Research Centre (MARC) however has been ongoing for the last 4 years so Ray is well versed in the active role our cause plays for our students.

rlucasDr Lucas describes he teaching role as part of Manchester School of Architecture:

I teach in the Manchester School of Architecture in a variety of roles.  

In the recent past, this has included teaching in studio and coordinating the humanities for the undergraduate BA in Architecture.  I have worked closely with colleagues across institutions in developing the humanities curriculum, teaching and coordinating the following courses: Architectural History: Epochs; Architectural History: Paradigms; Architecture & Observation/Graphic Anthropology; Agenda Building; World Urbanism.  Further to this, I have taught in the postgraduate studios Continuity in Architecture and Intimate Cities and supervised a number of postgraduate dissertations.

The teaching ethos of humanities in MSA is important, and involves a close integration of the various humanities disciplines with design studio.  Humanities in architecture is relevant to the process of design, be that in determining the survey and understanding of a site; understanding the context of a place, typology, practice or material; or as precedents which can inform today’s architectural practice.  The second part of this teaching ethos is to deliver current research to students as much as possible.  Whilst maintaining the structure of a foundation in architectural history and theory, it is important to move beyond the classicist surveys of the past and to exploit the wide range of contemporary research being conducted in Manchester School of Architecture both within MARC and our MMU colleagues.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Symposium Landscape Poster V2.1 copy

Foster + Partners Join B.15:45 ‘Modelmaking in the Digital Age’ Symposium

We are pleased to announce that Foster + Partners will be joining our ‘Modelmaking in the Digital Age’ Symposium taking place on March 9th.

As one of the biggest architectural practices in the world, this presentation from Foster + Partners will add an insight into the ever present use of architectural modelmaking in projects taking place worldwide.


Additional speakers from Foster + Partners will be:

Gregor_CorpGregor Anderson, Associate Partner at Foster + Partners and manager of the in-house Rapid Prototyping Facility. Gregor studied at the Royal College Of Art where he focused his research on all forms of digital manufacturing. On graduating, he was a key member in the development of Rapidform, the RCA’s in house additive manufacturing unit. In 2008 he moved to UCL to set up and run The Digital Manufacturing Centre in the Bartlett School of Architecture, before joining Foster + Partners in 2011.

Ed Bartlett
Ed Bartlett, Associate and Modelshop CAD Support Manager at Foster + Partners. Ed joined the practice in 2008 after graduating from the Arts University Bournemouth, where he studied Modelmaking for Design and Media, specialising in computer-aided design. He now heads up a team of CAD specialists within the practice, working on a wide variety of projects around the world.
We look forward to seeing you there!
 Symposium Landscape Poster V2.1 copy

Urban Design: Principles and Practice by Rachel Kerr of MSc Planning

Our first student in this year was an unexpected one. For some time now planning tutors have been encouraging their students to branch out into modelmaking as a tool to explain their proposals. Rachel Kerr decided to jump in and, having prepared her initial drawings for the model over the break, had no problem doing so.

Rachel Described the project for us:

The brief was to identify a disused corner site with a total area of less than 1 hectare for which we had to produce a redevelopment proposal. The site I worked on is to the west of Salford Central Station and is currently used for car parking (although it has been identified within the Salford Central Regeneration Strategy). The assignment requested that we assess the characteristics of the site and the surrounding area and use this analysis to produce a detailed brief for proposed redevelopment. Due consideration was given to urban design principles such as frontage, scale and public space. It was my intention to ensure that the site sits comfortably in within the surrounding area, whilst utilising the corner location to create a landmark for passing traffic.

The project uses simple material differences to divide the elements of the site. Because the model was made from laser cut ply there was the unavoidable scorching of the material edge. Rather that removing this, Rachel decided to capitalise on the burnt colour and stained the top surface of her site context buildings to match given them a dark colour in contrast to the sanded and clean look of her site in question.

Due to the small scale (1:500) of the model the site and road details we represented as engrave lines as any more definition was deemed of little importance to the overall representation required.

Once again the locally harvested ‘trees’ from our own model tree plant, as used on other projects, came in very useful and provided a natural and great finishing scale accompaniment along with a small number of 1:500 cars. Grassed or ‘Green’ areas are represented with a mottled green paper that gives a subtle contrast to the birch ply base.

The model was completed over approximately 3 days and is a good example of how to simply but effectively show the context of a site.