Back in 2018 two documentary film makers spent the 17/18 academic year capturing what goes on here in B.15 to describe, as the title suggests, WHAT WE DO HERE. The film explores the different workshop users to present a snapshot of how this 50 year old part of the Manchester School of Architecture is put through it’s paces by Students, Technical and Academic Staff.

The film premiered as part of the Venice Biennale and featured in the European Cultural Centre ‘TIME SPACE EXISTENCE’ Exhibition for the duration of the much celebrated event.

After featuring in several international film festivals and winning two awards we are excited to make the film available just under 2 years after it’s original release and in our 50th year.

We look forward to resuming modelmaking work with you all in the coming academic year whatever the circumstances may be!

Stay safe and enjoy the film!

Scott, Jim and Saul


Jesmonite Casting

Jesmonite is a gypsum based composite that when mixed with an acrylic polymer, cures as a solid form with a plaster-like appearance. The original product was developed in the UK in 1984 as a safer alternative to fibreglass. It has numerous applications in full scale architecture and across the creative industry.

Why use Jesmonite?

  • Stronger than plaster and more impact resistant
  • Replicates fine details from the mould with less chance of breaking
  • Easily mixed with different colours
  • Quick drying. Casts can be de-moulded within short space of time. Full cure/strength takes 24 hours.
  • Solvent Free meaning less harmful to the environment and safe for use inside the workshop or studio environment.

As students of architecture Jesmonite offers you the same advantages as full scale building application giving it uses at a wide range of modelling scales and types.

After using it at Atelier La Juntana Summer School we thought we’d have a few experiments ourselves. Mixing at the standard ratio of 2.5:1 we have carried out several tests demonstrating how pigments can be added to create varied effects depending on your requirement. Whilst we currently hold a limited stock of the standard AC100 Jesmonite, it is readily available from 4D with your student discount.















Marble, Stone and Granite, Terracotta red brick and Concrete effects are easily achieved by mixing in paints, lacquers or different aggregate types such as sand. Metal effects can also be achieved using metal powders.

A really great and safe to use casting product – get casting!


Free Postage and Student discounts at 4D Modelshop for MSA Students


Hi all,

You may or may not be aware of the company 4D Modelshop who provide some of the materials and equipment we have here at the workshop and are usually present at any of our inductions.

As part of this years inductions they are offering some of our recommended basic tools and consumables at discounted prices and FREE postage to B.15 workshop on all orders made before 29th October.

Once we receive any orders I’ll contact you via email.

Hope this is of some money saving use,


Happy New Year and Welcome Back Updates

Hi All,

Hope you have had a good break and time to recoup for the next few months.

Part of the UoM server went down over the break resulting in our blog going down but thankfully everything is intact and we are back online. Apologies for any inconvenience this caused anyone.

****Workshop Opening Times January/February****

This year we will be hosting one of the 5th year workshops between 25th January and Monday 8th February.

This will mean a shorter working day for these two weeks with the workshop only opening from 11.00 till the normal closing time of 16.30.

New Materials

We have a couple of new additions to our materials stock this term which as usual are subject to availability so be sure to check before beginning your project planning


Anyone who has been inducted this year or last will have been told about this product which 4D Stock. This pulp board has a great range of applications due to its ability to form shapes when wet which are maintained when the board dries. Recommended for sketch and development models but there’s no reason it couldn’t be used for more advanced models as well.


Metal Effect Silver Styrene Sheet

One of the most common questions asked of what can be cut on the laser cutters is metals. Whilst this isn’t possible we have bought in this substitute which is a metallic styrene plastic sheet. This can be laser cut and worked as with other styrene or acrylic sheeting and should serve as a suitable alternative for some cases.


Scale Trees

We have a small selection of high quality brass etched and flocked scale trees. These are available from 4D Modelshop in a much wider range of sizes and styles. Samples of those available from 4D Can be seen in the workshop. We have a small stock of the following:

Medium Green, Copper Beech, Cork, White and Bare Branch

Don’t forget to register for your 10% student discount if you buy anything from them quoting either myself or Jim as your tutor when asked.


New Reference Book

Advanced Mouldmaking and Casting, Nick Brooks, 2011


This book provides a thorough guide with case studies of mouldmaking and casting with a variety of materials. Whilst our facilities of this are limited we hope this book will guide you to approach this method with more confidence as well as see what is possible outside of a workshop environment. As with all our books you are welcome to use as reference within the workshop but please don’t take out.

See you all soon,

Scott and Jim


1st Year BA Architecture Inductions

This week we have given a general introduction to modelmaking to the new wave of BA Architecture First Year students. We hope everyone who attended enjoyed their sessions and are ready to get making things this year.

If you have any questions get in touch.

1st Year Inductions (3)

More info about products and your discounts at 4D Modelshop can be found on their site at http://modelshop.co.uk/

As there were several people who didn’t attend the inductions we may be holding catch up sessions one day next week but this is yet to be confirmed. We will keep you posted.

Enjoy your weekend!

Scott and Jim

1st Year Inductions and 4D Modelshop visit 17th & 18th September

1st Year Inductions this week This year we will be inducting each and every newcomer to MSA into the theory of Modelmaking in their studies. These inductions will be taking place in the workshop this coming Wednesday and Thursday and we will therefore be closed to all other year groups for these two days. 4D_logo[1] 4D Modelshop Visit 4D Modelshop is one of the main suppliers of modelmaking tools and materials in the UK. They are based in London but offer and efficient web service allowing quick delivery to Manchester. Deliveries can be made to our workshop or your home address.

As part of these first year inductions we have been able to invite a representative for 4D Modelshop in the the building to demonstrate and display some of the materials available that will come in handy for your studies. 4D Will be set up on our first floor near the B.15:45 Exhibition and will be on hand throughout both days to all – not just 1st year inductees.

We recommend you drop by to see what will be on offer as there will be student discount opportunities on starter tool kits and materials samples so well worth a look.  Scott and Jim