The Arts University Bournemouth: Workshops & End of Year Show 2013

Following our trip to Bath and Timothy Richards’s workshop we drove down to Bournemouth for a private workshop tour and a look at their end of year show. Having studied in Bournemouth for my degree I was already aware of what they have but felt showing Jim the facilities first hand would be of great befit to the constant refinement of our own workshop. Unlike our workshop at SED, the Bournemouth workshops cater for a wide range of courses and as a result are set over two large floors.

One aspect of the workshop design that would be great to incorporate into our own is the segregation of certain areas. This is a difficult task in SED due to our restricted space however certain changes are possible and some solutions could come from other institutions such as this. Of particular interest to reduce the amount of dust in the air we breathe we were interested to look at the sanding benches (below). These were in a purpose built room with enclosed extraction to reduce the spread of dust. Whilst we are limited in space, incorporating one of these benches into our workshop may be a possibility and we will consider implementing it within the next year.

Another separate department is the CAD-CAM area which incorporates all CAD driven machinery away from the main woodwork shop space. As with the sanding room, it is unlikely we will be able to create such a space without expanding the workshop. This said, by simply arranging the machinery together and the materials they use effectively it is clear that this side of the AUB set up works very well. We will be making efforts to improve on material storage and availability over the summer.

One of the main draws for me to study in Bournemouth was the ability to collaborate with so many different courses. The AUB has facilities to cover Architecture, Interior Architecture, Animation, Costume Design, Model making, Make-up, Graphic Design, Film Studies, Photography and many more Arts based courses. Here are a few shots of our look at the End of Year show across the campus.

Find out more about the arts based courses at Bournemouth by clicking here.


Workshop Updates

With the academic year over things are a bit quieter down here in the workshop but there’s no shortage of jobs to do!

New band saw

We have just installed a brand new Hammer band saw to replace our smaller Startrite band saw which has become problematic over the last year. The new machine has been ordered from Austria having been built to order.

General Workshop This functions in exactly the same manner with the exception of the drop down guard which has two separate height adjustment and lock off wheels (see image below) as opposed to a single wheel.

General Workshop (2)

Should you be unsure of anything on this new saw don’t hesitate to ask myself or Jim for assistance. The new saw will soon be fitted with the standard emergency stop buttons you will find on all the machines in the workshop. Remember if these switches are pressed you will need a member of staff to unlock the machine for use.

Re-Stocking and New Materials

Ahead of the new year were also re-stocking the store which has been left somewhat depleted after last months exhibition rush! All listed thicknesses of Laser-able (Medite) MDF; Laser-able Plywood and Acrylic stock will all be cut and stocked for September.

General Workshop (5)

General Workshop (3)

We are currently looking into stocking 1mm and 0.5 mm Acrylic sheet which are great material thicknesses for architectural models that have previously been unavailable here.

Timothy Richards: Fine Plaster Architectural Models, Bath

Last week we took some annual leave to go on a modelmaking road trip! We visited two main locations and so I’ll split this summary into two posts. This post will cover our visit to Timothy Richards studio in Bath.

The company has become the world leader in the production of fine plaster cast architectural models for exhibition display and private commission.

Over the past few months there have been several student projects attempting to delve into the plaster casting medium to convey their ideas.Whilst we have some experience of this process we thought it would be useful to ourselves and to upcoming students to give an insight into this process commercially and how better than to visit this master of the art!

A friend of mine, Lauren Milton, with whom I graduated in Modelmaking is now working for Tim and was able to give us an extensive private tour and insight into the workings of the company. Tim’s models range from complete buildings to facade’s and architectural details. Many of these models are made to order as private commissions however there is a range of popular works which are kept in stock for purchase.

The method used to produce the models has been refined over time but essentially involves creating a ‘master’ form of the subject to take a mould from then casting in the appropriate coloured plaster which can be pigmented to suit. One of Tim’s core beliefs about model building is that a model should be as similar in materiality as the building it represents. This means that all of the works produced here are cast in their final colour and therefore no paint is used on the cast surfaces. The only areas where colour may be applied is again through a ‘raw finish’ material such as thin sheet metal used to emboss over certain areas much as they would be in reality on roofing details etc.

Once cast, the building or facade components are assembled and any additional details such as window frames and railing are added. These details are primarily made from etched brass – a process we will cover in another post but in the mean time please ask myself or Jim for more information.  The resulting components can be made extremely fine and add a great deal of realism to these models.

Finely sculpted elements are made by sculptors who are paid to create exact replicas of organic details on the buildings. Once complete the scaled down sculpts are cast in white metals and then added to the master models before being cast into the final model.

Tim keeps everything for future reference meaning an extensive store of past model masters and moulds. This area in particular is fascinating and shows the breadth of experience compiled through sheer number of past projects in store. This visit was truly fascinating and insightful. It may be possible for us to arrange a lecture and demonstration from Tim this coming academic year. Should this happen I can’t recommend it enough!

For more on Tim’s work click here:

Outside of our workshop visit we spent some time looking around Bath looking at some of its fantastic architecture and the historic Roman Bath house. All in all a great place to visit should you get the chance!

Taking from our visit we have decided to have a go at creating some plaster models of our own so we’ll keep you updated on our progress with that in the coming weeks.


Subvert Skate Park, Saskia Furman

This site is currently a car park in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Saskia’s 3rd year proposal for this site is a new development providing a space for the ‘socially un-welcome’. The development would include a skate park, hostel and other spaces for urban sports.

For this project Saskia used different coloured acrylics to represent different sections of her proposal.

This type of model is sometimes known as a ‘Jewel model’ due to the illuminated effect given by the coloured acrylics. Commercially this type of model get’s varied use.

Architects Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners favour this style of model during their design development stages.  Providing the CAD files are set up and drawn correctly this type of model can be a great quick addition to a project, this example took around 5 hours to draw, cut and assemble incuding some trial and error!