Architectural Modelmaking, Design Development, Bespoke Design & Construction. Part of The University of Manchester (SEED School of Environment, Education and Development) Part of the Manchester School of Architecture
During the summer break several rooms have been rearranged and cleared in the basement to allow us to now occupy a new room to house our model archive and temporary model store in Room B.19. This room can be accessed by asking either of us.
With the new B.19 model store in place we have been able to rearrange part of our materials store creating space for new machines.
The main addition to this area is a new spraying area which will shortly be commissioned to allow us to spray model components. As with all new equipment you will be required to ask us to demonstrate the correct practice before using the machine on your own.
Access to the Photographic Studio can now be made through the materials store thanks to the addition of a new doorway. The old doorway to the studio space is now for staff use only when dealing with material orders.
We have also taken delivery of a new Flatbed Cutter which will soon be commissioned and located in a re-purposed area of the photographic studio space. This machine will initially be staff operated only until its applications have been clearly established.
As an upgrade from our previous belt sander/ disk sander combination machine we have now purchased a new and larger belt sander (Also known as a Linisher) which is situated at the back of the workshop next to the bobbin sander. Normal operation and health and safety rule apply when using this machine – as always if you are unsure then please ask for help before using a new machine. This will be up and running next week.
New Morticing Machine which is used for making squared mortice joints in joinery. This will be particularly useful for 1:1 scale detail models. This is a staff only machine at present but should your project require such a detail we will be on hand to use the machine.
New Reference Books – We have added four new books to our modelmaking library.
Architectural Model as Machine by Albert C. Smith, 2004 is an in depth historical look at the application of modelmaking in architecture from antiquity to the present day.
Advanced Architectural Modelmaking, 2010 by Eva Pascual I Miro, Pere Pedrero Carbonero, Ricard Pedrero Coderc. This book goes into detail outlining construction methods and provides a good selection of case studies.
Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas, 2015 by Joanna Pillsbury, Patricia Joan Sarro, James Doyle, Juliet Wiersema. Published alongside the exhibition of the same name this book provides an interesting look at modelmaking in ancient American history and displays the often overlooked duel function of models as tools and art.
The Spatial Uncanny, 2001 by James Casebere. The artwork of James Casebere demonstrates the amazing perspective images that can be achieved through photographing interior models.
We have a new restructured and re-branded permanent exhibition space on the first floor here at Humanities Bridgford Street; B.15 ARCHITYPES. The exhibition gives a categorised breakdown of model types and features a wide range of applications in the context of projects you may have to produce during your time here as students and beyond. Please get yourself over to have a good look around pick up a free new guidebook whilst they last!
Lastly we are now on social media Instagram and Twitter where we will be sharing work and events @b15workshop
Will recently completed this working site model of an area of Bollington made from a CNC routed block of Mahogany. Once the CNC job was completed will spend several hours hand finishing details such as the building footprints and road details.
It’s worth considering this aspect when using the CNC route for a wooden model. Even though the bulk of material is removed with the machine there is usually a considerable amount of finishing to be factored in.
“I required a site model to make massing and programme arrangement decisions in relation to the topography and trees on the site. I chose to use the CNC machine because unlike the laser cutter, it allowed me to get smooth contours at the 1:500 scale and as a result decisions could be made at the smaller scale.
It required considerable sanding to remove the CNC excavation lines. For this is started with a low grit sand paper slow working my way up to a fine grit. I used mahogany because it is a hardwood with an attractive grain which gave the model a material connection to the actual wooded site.
The trees were an experiment in process. I wanted to recreate the densely wooded appearance on the site with varied tree types. For this I used a variety of modelling trees, brass wire and pieces of bush.” Will Priest 2016
The focus of this year’s U.S.E. atelier is the city of Dortmund, Germany. I was fortunate to be able to take part in the study trip that saw the group, both 5th and 6th years, exploring and documenting the proposed site along with several post industrial sites. It was agreed early on in the trip that a masterplan model should be created for group discussions throughout the year and as a center piece for the end of year show taking place next June.
“After returning from Dortmund, U.S.E. split into site analysis teams. alongside research groups, whose work was collated into a large compendium document, we were tasked with the fabrication of a physical masterplan model of the Union Quarter.Â
A scale of 1:1250 was chosen due to material constraints, fitting the width of a 2440x1220mm MDF sheet. For an appropriate portrayal of information at this scale, we largely focused on the massing and blocking whilst acknowledging the railway lines, running at a lower level to the rest of the site and splitting the Union Quarter into three parcels. Other than this drastic level change, we chose to ignore other topographical features of the area; whilst the site features a gradual incline towards the westpark, this would be largely negligible at 1:1250 and would have added considerable time and effort to the construction process.
To demarcate the site boundary, we chose to raise the union quarter on a plinth above the main model base. To economise on time, we also chose only to build massing on this plinth; outside the site boundary, roads and buildings are indicated by engravings on a plasma cut mild steel sheet. This was left outside over a weekend to rust, acting as a material metaphor for Dortmund’s steel heritage, which is highly prominent on site.
The raised Union Quarter plinths are produced from 12mm clear acrylic recycled from display cabinets at the Manchester Museum. laser cut polystyrene sheeting was plastic welded on top, forming pavements and streets, before being spray painted white. the plinths were originally constructed fromÂ cncâ€™dÂ MDF, though these were scrapped as we were not satisfied with the finish or the joining with the polystyrene sheets, which did not stick well to the timber.
For the massing, we were advised by workshop staff to use chemi-wood, a resin-based material known for its ease of cutting and crisp finish. buildings were hand cut; whilst being a lengthy process, we were able to add a greater level of complexity to blocking than would normally be possible with the laser cutter, such as pitched roofs.
Blocks were then spray painted with shades of white and grey to identify their general usage, broken down into residential, public, commercial and industrial. though nearly finished to a presentation-quality standard, in future we are looking to add trees to the model as the union quarter is a particularly green urban area.”
– Daniel Kempski & Peter Lee December 2015
The main base feature of this model was the engraved 2mm thick steel sheet. On it’s arrival the steel had a light coating of oil to prevent rust which, unusually when it comes to the use of metal, was exactly the finish the group didn’t want!
There were several discussions about how to best subtly age the steel which were all trial and error with regard to retaining the engraved detail. It was decided to clean the oil from the face of the steel and leave it outside over the weekend having been lightly sprayed with Epsom salts.
At best we thought it may have started to surface rust by Monday morning. To our surprise and temporary horror the rust had completely coated the sheet in the heavy rain that had ensued. Thankfully the group were able to rub back the rust with fine grade sandpaper and the effect turned out to be better than was hoped for.
The buildings were fixed to the floor plates and the arranged in position on the steel base. Only trees remain to emphasis the green spaces across the site but have been left off for now until the final assembly closer to the end of the year. – Scott