“Made from Jesmonite” CPD presentation June 11th – Free to MSA Staff and Students

Whilst we have used Jesmonite in the B.15 workshop for small scale casting, it’s wider applications across the building industry are often overlooked. 

From the Jesmonite website: “Jesmonite is the ultimate chameleon material of the building industry – it can be used to replicate the appearance and texture of any surface finish in any number of colours.

The combination of natural raw materials with a special blend of water based pure acrylic polymers create a unique family of materials that have a number of product benefits that make Jesmonite superior to other building materials.”

 


Made Frome Jesmonite – CPD Presentation

11.00 Tuesday June 11th, Humanities Bridgeford Street Room G32

This presentation will discuss how the background of Jesmonite and its various applications in craft, design and building construction.

Free to MSA Staff and Students.

Please register to attend on Eventbrite by clicking here.

Find out more about Jesmonite here.

MA Architecture + Urbanism ‘Undoing Urbanism’ Masterplan Model

A recent modelmaking project from MSA’s MA Architecture + Urbanism course has gained media coverage in recent weeks. The Northern Quarter masterplan has taken centre stage in the window of Fred Aldous craft store. So what’s the story behind this huge eye catching display? Student Dorcas Agbana kindly explained the project:

We initially had a measured drawing of Northern Quarter but the scale on paper didn’t help us understand the context to its full extent. For part of our project a public consultation was scheduled at the Craft Centre and a model seemed like the best way to translate design to “reality” for the studio group and to the public.

We’ve learnt that physical objects are easier to grasp by laymen over technical architectural jargon and so this 3D manifestation seemed like the best way to explain our design process and showcase how our many ideas interlinked.

Concept art showing the model featured in Fred Aldous window display

 

Working in the studio space, the model was used to get a better understanding of scale (context and individual buildings), to figure out scope of the groups design interventions. It allowed us to plug in ideas to see how they worked, how we could link different concepts into one narrative and to holistically figure out new transport routes and better identify pockets of relief.

Initially, around 20-30 members broke the whole model into smaller zones to execute it. It took around a 5 day week to get the initial model done. And then around 10 – 15 students worked for another week to prepare it for public display in Fred Aldous shop front.

 

Since the display was completed the feedback has been positive. We have observed people pause and stare, we’ve gotten comments on how to better design it for the public to understand. People who have seen and read the articles and the brochure on the studio have since made a trip to the store to check out the model. The model will stay in the window until at least the end of March, but its next home has not been decided yet.

 

It was an interesting experience for everyone as the scale of the model made it probably the largest one that any one of us had worked on. In the studio it  helped all the students to better work together. The process was grueling and physically exhausting towards the end, but the end product makes it worth it!

It’s great to see the model being so publicly used to get people talking about the architecture and urban spaces in an area which has been subject to a number of controversial changes over the last year. Individual student proposals were published in the MEN giving the project further coverage in the region.Read the article here

Be sure to follow Architecture and Urbanism on their Instagram/Twitter to find out more about their ongoing projects Instagram: @maaumsa Twitter: @undoingurbanism

Thanks to Dorcas for explaining the project in more detail.

Students who worked on the model installation at Fred Aldous were: Dorcas Agbana, Priya Renganathan, Rayhane Saber, Marina Kuliasova, Bowen Zhang, Qu Zhang, Shuqian Zhou, Haochu Chen, Tian Gechuan, Dongli Huang, Tingting Miao, Yangyang Bao, Zhaozhao Zhang, Ramita Dewi Lubis, Anggita Krisnandini and Feng Daio

‘Bearing Rome Across The Alps’ – A Brief History of Cork Modelling and its Contemporary Potential

Fig 1. Modern Cork Model of the Temple of Castor and Pollux ©Dieter Cöllen

There is very little published about the nearly lost art of cork modelling aside from a few fairly recent articles and research papers. Before being attributed to architectural forms in the 18th Century, carving with cork was a tradition associated with nativity scenes in southern Italy (Gillespie, 2017). The idea of modelling this way most likely came from a combination of convenience; cork being a common, lightweight and versatile material for quick fabrication, as much as any creative individuals desire to replicate and simply enjoy the tactile craft of making with it.

The refinement of this unusual but captivating form of modelling occurred during a great period of artistic and cultural exploration in Europe. During what could be described as the original ‘gap year’, eighteenth century grand touring took young people across the continent via the most notable and artistically rich cities. This was something of an exclusive privilege that required a significant wealth and strong will of curiosity for the unfamiliar. Everyday living requirements meant a need to be flexible in tastes both for practical and dietary comforts. On every level of perception the experience was sure to be eye opening for anyone willing to embark on such a journey.

Experiencing a new destination for the first time as a modern traveller, you would think it common place to see an abundance of stalls and shops stacked with keepsakes, often mass produced junk that are rife in tourist spots. At the time of the grand tours, this shameless ‘cashing-in’ trade was fledgling if non existent. Despite this, amongst the increasing number of visitors, there was a great desire to somehow record experiences of travelling which led to traditional and art’s and craft based methods or recording being adopted. Visitors fascinated by the large scale architecture and ruins of ancient Rome took time to draw, paint and carve what they saw in order to take some momentos home. This collective practice brought back a new vision, a blueprint of how the classical world could inform a modern British design.

As well as the grand tourists giving these crafts a go themselves there were some forward thinking artisan-entrepreneurs who began producing models to sell. According to Dieter Cöllen the originator of this method of making is commonly thought to have been Roman architect Agusto Rosa. Following his death came Antonio Chichi who produced probably the most famous cork models for sale to tourists in Italy (Cöllen, 2014). These miniature 3D sketches, copies of the classics in that moment, would then find their way back over the Alps towards Western Europe and beyond with many ending up in private collections to this day.

Cöllen, an artist and craftsman, has become the current go-to maker on the subject of cork modelling or ‘Phelloplastike’ – a work derived from the Greek word for cork. His works have gained attention around the world for their outstanding levels of accuracy and due to the specialist nature of the medium it is widely thought that his skills and experience are unparalleled in the field. Whilst these works are undoubtedly stunning pieces many have had the advantage of modern crafts tools which puts the skill behind the original 18th Century examples into perspective.

Fig 5. Richard Du Bourg Colosseum Model 1775 © Museums Victoria

Given the age of limited numbers of the surviving examples, careful conservation is essential to their preservation after many years in storage and a fluctuating relevance in society as they fell in and out of fashion. Conservator Sarah Babister states that cork models ‘were really popular at a certain time and were kept as tools to teach students. Then they fell out of fashion and a lot of them were disposed of.’ (Kate C. 2014). 

This helps to explain why there are so few examples surviving on public display. There has however been a recent recognition of the value of cork models which has led to a more conscious conservation of these pieces with the excellent reinstatement of the Soane model room and a fantastic Colosseum at Australia’s Museum Victoria.

This original 18th century model (Fig.5) was produced by British modelmaker Richard Du Bourg and thankfully spared the ‘no longer in vogue’ fate of so many of his other works. Richard Gillespie at Museum Victoria has written on the subject that stemmed from his intrigue of the Colosseum model that had sat unused in the museum stores for some 20 years. Having researched and discovered several other examples of Cork Colosseum models in European collections Gillespie concludes that separately these models had varied purposes. This is reflective of the wider, multifaceted use of modelmaking in architecture in contemporary practice.

“The [various] Colosseum models […] differed in purpose, combining to different degrees antiquarian interest, archaeological research and documentation, evocation of classical architecture and history, courtly collections, public exhibition and education, commercial opportunity – and artistic endeavour, for the carving of cork into extraordinary classical structures and architecture had a technical and aesthetic appeal for the modellers and their audiences” (Gillespie, 2016)

Using Cork Modelling Today

In current practice cork is still used on occasion by modelmakers but rarely as the sole building material as it was in the golden age of the grand tourist. Makers wanting to try their hand today can find cork in good art and craft stores in both thin sheet and block form. In sheet form it has proved popular and lends itself well to the 21st century workhorse of the workshop, the laser cutter. Over the last few years we have moved to encourage aspects of this classical method of making into some of our works here at B.15. Using files, scalpels and sandpaper it is easy and engaging to sculpt into pieces of cork often requiring the user to study the subject in greater detail than they might on passing, much like life drawing or sketching.

I recently ran a short workshop on sculpting in cork in association with the ‘What We Do Here’ film project at the European Cultural Centre in Venice during the 16th Architecture Biennale. The atelier symposium; ‘Joined Up Thinking’ presented different approaches to studying, recording and designing space. Students of MSA’s Platform Atelier were given blocks of cork with the task of recreating a detail chosen from their time exploring Venice. These sketch models allowed students to engage with the material, largely for the first time, and to think about their chosen subject in carefully considered stages due to the subtractive process.

Senior lecturer and head of Platform atelier Matt Ault explains the context of the task in his teaching:

“The ever increasing availability and access to computational power continues to expand our design capacity for conceptualising, developing, communicating and fabricating. The move towards digital craft and digital tectonics recognises the central role of materiality and materialisation in architectural design and allows the benefits of the digital to be informed by our own material understanding.

Active sketching techniques of drawing, modelling and making result in a deeper understanding of any idea under interrogation or critique.

Our recent use of the cork sketching technique in Venice is part of a design task that also comprises the complimentary techniques in modelling and fabrication: digitally exploring complex, fluid surface morphologies by defining associative geometries that can be manipulated on screen.  Design iterations can be quickly and cheaply made physical through manufacturing and assembling from paper or card with the digital plotter-cutter. Testing, evaluation and understanding of the material sketch model and its construction logic feeds back into the digital modelling to evolve the design.”

(Ault, 2019)
 

Despite its age as a modelling method, it was clear following this task that cork sculpting can still offer us a mode of thought that the most contemporary mediums often steer us away from. It provides a much needed tactility to students learning along with the opportunity to expand on unknown possibilities that result from “mistakes” made along the way. During the assignment the concentration in the room was palpable with everyone, tutors included absorbed in the task at hand whilst clearly enjoying the process.

The work produced, along with additional cork sketch models will be featured at the MSA end of year show presenting the cork sculpts as 3D sketches. I look forward to seeing more examples in the coming weeks.

Scott Miller 2019


References

Ault, M, 2019, Cork Task [E-Mail]

C. Kate, 2014. Cork Colosseum X-Ray [Online Article] Available From: http://museumvictoria.com.au/about/mv-blog/apr-2014/cork-colosseum-x-ray/ Accessed 01/12/2014

Coffin, S. D. 2014. Cork for More Than Wine, The Temple of Vesta, Tivoli [Online Article] http://www.cooperhewitt.org/2014/10/30/cork-for-more-than-wine-the-temple-of-vesta-tivoli/ Accessed 01/12/14

Collen, D. 2013. The Cork-Models [Online Article] Available from: http://www.coellen-cork.com/eng/antike/history.htm Accessed 01/12/2014

Fouskaris, J. 2006. Studio I – Music Stroll Garden [Online Article] Available From: http://www.jonfouskaris.com/portfolio/music-garden.html Accessed 01/12/2014

Gillespie, R. 2016. Journal of the Classical Association of Victoria, New Series, Volume 29, From ‘Trash’ to Treasure: Museum Victoria’s Colosseum Model Available from: https://classicsvic.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/gillespie.pdf Accessed 26/11/2018

Gillespie, R. 2017. Journal of the History of Collections vol. 29 no. 2 pp. 251–269, Richard Du Bourg’s ‘Classical Exhibition’ Available From: https://academic.oup.com/jhc/article-abstract/29/2/251/2503305

Mass, M. 2014. Rare Model Craft: In The Beginning There was The Cork [Online Article] Available From: http://www.spiegel.de/karriere/berufsleben/kork-modelle-von-antiken-bauwerken-dieter-coellen-baut-miniaturen-a-983770.html Accessed 01/12/2014

Images

Fig. 1: Coellen, D. 2013 Tempel des Castor und Pollux [Online Image] Available from:  http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/dieter-coellen-baut-korkmodelle-von-antiken-bauwerken-fotostrecke-115570-8.html Accessed 01/12/2014

Fig. 2: Coellen, D. 2013 Natur pur (2) [Online Image] Available From: http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/dieter-coellen-baut-korkmodelle-von-antiken-bauwerken-fotostrecke-115570-3 Accessed 01/12/2014

Fig 3. Sir John Soanes Museum, London, Model of the Roman circular Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, near Rome, by Giovanni Altieri [Online Image]Available From: http://collections.soane.org/object-mr2 Accessed 01/10/2018

Fig 4.  Sir John Soanes Museum, London, Model of the Temple of Zeus or Apollo (the so-called Temple of Neptune or Poseidon), Paestum Attributed to Domenico Padiglione c.1820 [Online Image]Available From: http://collections.soane.org/object-mr25  Accessed 01/10/2018

Fig 5. Museums Victoria Collections, Melbourne Australia, Model – Colosseum, Richard Du Bourg, London 1775 [Online Image] Available From: https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/715107 Accessed 27/11/2018

Fig 6. Miller S. 2015, Cork Block and Sheet [Original Image]

Fig 7. Miller S. 2015, A cork sketch model by the author. [Original Image]

Figs 8 – 11. Miller S. 2018 ‘Grand Tour’ cork modelling task in Venice in association with the ECC [Original Images]

‘Celebrating Burnage Garden Village: Building Manchesters Pioneering Housing’ Exhibition

Senior Workshop Technician Jim Backhouse recently completed two vintage style models for the upcoming exhibition ‘Celebrating Burnage Garden Village: Building Manchesters Pioneering Housing’ which will open with a launch event this coming Saturday at Manchester’s Central Library.

The two models show the overall estate plan at 1:500 along with a 1:100 model of a semi-detached house. Jim’s modelling style took inspiration from the original plans and drawings from the early 20th century hand finishing components using water colour.

Exhibition Launch description:

Burnage Garden Village, built 1908-1910, is an little gem, with architectural influences from Raymond Unwin and other Arts and Crafts enthusiasts. It is still managed by a local committee of Manchester Tenants Ltd established in 1906. Come to the launch of a small exhibition detailing the design and building of this pioneering Garden Village here in Manchester, hear about how it attracted socialists, suffrage campaigners and conscientious objectors as well as some extraordinary artists, sculptors and explorers.

Opening at Manchester Central Library this Saturday, March 2nd and running for the duration of March.

Tickets for the opening event are free and available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/celebrating-burnage-garden-village-building-manchesters-pioneering-housing-tickets-55917194835

Atelier La Juntana Summer School with MSA 9th-15th July 2019

Featured

Following the success of the last two years of MSA collaborating with Atelier La Juntana we are pleased to announce the third edition of the MSA exclusive week taking place 9th – 15th July 2019. The course takes place in the north of Spain outside the city of Santander in the coastal town of Liencres.

Students of 1st, 2nd and 5th year Architecture are encouraged to take part in the week long course which provides a foundation in a wide range of making skills for your design and presentation work back here at MSA.

Watch footage for the last two MSA atelier groups here:

*********    DON’T MISS OUT – APPLY FOR 2019 NOW!    **********

MSA Students will pay the discounted rate of £425 for the full week long course and also have the option 8 nights of discounted accommodation. This fee may be further reduced  subject to extra sponsorship.

Fees Update: Funding from the student experience fund here at UoM has allowed a further discount to MSA applications which will be subsidised by at least £50. The exact amount will depend on the final number of attendees and will be applied after applications close. 

Apply here for more information about the 2019 MSA exclusive week:

atelierlajuntana@gmail.com

More information about the course can be found on the ALJ website here: http://www.atelierlajuntana.com/SummerWorkshop.html

Photo highlights from Atelier La Juntana with MSA 2018 are displayed below. Highlights from 2017 can be found by clicking here.

Before You’re Thirty: Modelmaking

Each month the Manchester Student Society of Architecture (MSSA) host a night of guest lectures on a variety of themes relating the the field of Architecture and beyond. This years November theme was modelmaking and brought together three speakers to present their varied perspectives and experiences on the subject.

Despite the varied backgrounds of the speakers there were some strong common threads in the presentations that reinforced the strong pro-making feeling throughout. At all levels modelmaking was presented as an essential tactile tool for testing, presenting and soul searching/enriching when trying to better understand built forms, both large and small.

Thank you to MSSA for their work putting the event together and to the speakers who gave their time generously. Find out more about the MSSA here. Keep up to date with the Before You’re 30 lecture series on their facebook page here.

Chaired by Scott Miller, the speakers were:

Armor Gutierrez Rivas – Founder and Leader of Atelier La Juntana Modelmaking Summer School, Architect at KPF Architects London & Tutor at the University of East London Find out more about Armor and Atelier La Juntana Here – More on next years collaboration with MSA will be announced soon.

Claudio Molina Camacho – Architect, Associate Lecturer for Masters Architecture + Urbanism & 2nd year BA Tutor at MSA. Find out more about Claudio here.

Sam Stone – MSA Graduate and Part 3 Architectural Assistant at T.P. Bennett Manchester. See some of Sams final year work here

WHAT WE DO HERE – TRAILER

At long last we can reveal the trailer for our upcoming anthropology documentary film “WHAT WE DO HERE”

WHAT WE DO HERE explores how aspiring architects at Manchester School of Architecture approach various stages of modelmaking as they grapple with materials, methods and machines to ultimately reveal the ways in which the models inform their individual growth and understanding. In addition to this it examines the ways that staff integrate practical making into their requirements for student assignments and within their own research projects.

Premiere Screening and Debate June 29th

The film will premiere at in Venice at Biennale Sessions, Special programme for higher education institutions at La Biennale di Venezia’s 16th International Architecture Exhibition. The screening will take place at 15.00 at the Venice Arsenale Sale D’Armi followed by speakers and a debate on the subject of making in design. Speakers will be announced shortly.

TIME SPACE EXISTENCE June 30th – November 25th

The film will take up a 5 month residence at Palazzo Bembo as part of the TIME SPACE EXISTENCE Collateral Biennale exhibition. WWDH will be screened on repeat during all opening hours at Palazzo Bembo near the famous Rialto Bridge.

WHAT WE DO HERE to Feature at “TIME SPACE EXISTENCE” Exhibition, Venice Biennale

We are pleased to announce that following our June 29th Premiere and debate of WHAT WE DO HERE, the film will then take up a 5 month residence at Palazzo Bembo as part of the TIME SPACE EXISTENCE Collateral Biennale exhibition. WWDH will be screened on repeat during all opening hours at Palazzo Bembo between June 30th and November 25th 2018.

“The fourth edition of the biennial architecture exhibition “TIME SPACE EXISTENCE” presents a wide selection of works from architects, photographers, sculptors and universities from all over the world. In addition, projects realized in cooperation with institutions and museums. 

The participating architects and artists come from diverse cultural backgrounds and different career stages, i.e. established architects next to professionals whose works might be less known. What they have in common is their dedication to architecture in the broadest sense of their profession. The exhibition shows a vast spectrum of presentations (models, concepts, research outcomes, thoughts, dreams and ideas), placing classical architectural installations in dialogue with surprising artistic elements. 

The topic TIME SPACE EXISTENCE gives the possibility for each architect to focus on these fundamental existential questions, creating an extraordinary combination of projects and approaches. By combining projects from architecture studios with works of architecture photography and sculpture, the exhibition becomes a dialogue between current developments, ideas and thoughts in art and architecture, highlighting the philosophical concepts of Time, Space and Existence.” – http://www.palazzobembo.org/

One of the many contributions to the previous TIME SPACE EXISTENCE exhibition in 2016

PREMIERE SCREENING AND DEBATE

WWDH will premiere at the Biennale Arsenale Site on June 29th followed by a debate on the subject.

Exhibition: ‘Atelier La Juntana: A Modelmaking Summer School’

MSA Students who took part in the summer school ‘Atelier La Juntana: Modelmaking in the Digital Age’ will present their work from 1st to 8th December.

The exhibition will present the various process studies accomplished over the week long course. Processes include: Wood Carving, Mould Making, Multiple Material Casting, Clay Tile Sculpting, Etching, Engraving and Screen Printing.

Atelier La Juntana: A Modelmaking Summer School

1st to 8th December
Grosvenor Gallery,
MMU School of Art.

Opening event with Atelier La Juntana Founder Armor Gutierrez Rivas taking place 1st December 16.00 – 18.00.

Atelier La Juntana Summer School July 2017

Between 19th and 25th July a group of 14 MSA students and B.15 took part in ‘Modelmaking in the Digital Age’ Summer school in the North of Spain. Atelier La Juntana has been run for several years by Architect brothers Armor and Nertos Gutierrez Rivas along with their father, Daniel Gutierrez Adan. This is the first time the course has been held exclusively for a single institution.

The course is designed to encourage individuals to investigate different materials and processes and in turn open them up the possibilities within craft for their presentations. This is not a course about conclusions but about the journey of exploration and how we should each take more time to appreciate the hand crafted approach in our work.

Throughout the week students explored the following, each involving many sub processes:

Silicone Mould Making, Resin Casting, Jesmonite Casting, Casting with Pigments, Plaster Mould Making and Casting, Clay Tile Sculpting and Replication, Sand box Moulding, Casting Aluminium, Photo Etching on Zinc Plates, Hard Etching on Zinc Plates, Press Printing, Paper Embossing, Screen Making and Screen Printing on Fabrics.


All students took part in these activities getting to know much more about each process and it application as well as building great social links with each other. Outside of the workshop the group were taken on a tour of the surrounding area of the Liencres nature reserve and also of Santander. The tour took in the cities Cathedral and other architectural landmarks before visiting the ‘Arte Y Architecture’ exhibition which featured work from previous workshops.In addition to the practical tasks undertaken each day there were introductory lectures explaining each process and its application as well as a lecture from Croatian architect Rosa Rogina who presented some of her work which has used modelmaking to help convey important human messages looking at the rebuilding of a coral reef and also about the impact of land mines across former war zones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The workshop culminated with a display of the outcomes from the across the week with each students explaining the process undertaken. Students were then given a diploma for their achievements before helping to put together a celebratory BBQ in the workshop garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We would like to thank everyone at Atelier La Juntana for making us all feel so welcome and putting on such a fantastic week for us all. In addition to that we would like to thank everybody who took part in this experience for making the trip over and getting involve. We hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did and look forward to seeing the skills being used in your future projects!

It is hoped that the work will be put on display in the coming months here at Manchester School of Architecture and that Armor will be present to speak about the experience.

Look out for updates about this and future workshops! Find out more about Atelier La Juntana here.

Scott