Profile: Mirko Avalos Henriquez – Professional Modelmaker in Berlin

Two weeks ago we had an unexpected visit from Mirko Avalos Henriquez- a Professional Modelmaker and Director of Maquette, Berlin who had read about our exhibition online. He was kind enough to write this review and in turn we asked for a description of his experience in Modelmaking for you to read about. Here it is:


Often when I get asked what I do and I say that I am a model maker the response is usually along the lines of ‘oh, you make those cute little houses’. Although this is mostly true, my main role as a model maker involves advising the architect on how best to present their idea through the medium of a model. Architects often know what they want their model to communicate but while they mainly design in ‘real world’ scale or 1:1, they often find it a challenge to visualize their ideas at a much smaller size. In this sense a model maker is not only a skilled craftsman but also a consultant, advising the architect on how best to present the vital information the architect wishes to communicate.

Bauhaus Museum

I have been working as a model maker based in Berlin for the past 7 years and have worked with architects from small yet highly successful buros such as Schultes Frank Architekten and Heike Hanada to larger more reknowned offices including David Chipperfield Architects and Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos. No matter how small or large a firm is, they will at some point need a model, either at the development stage of an idea or to exhibit a finished building as part of an exhibition. These could also be detailed presentation models where an architect may want to present their idea to a panel of investors, or a competition model, where the model will sit alongside 200 other candidates and must quickly communicate not only the overall look of the building or landscape, but also the concept behind the design.


As a model maker, the greatest challenge is knowing what materials, colours and level of detail best represent what the architect is thinking, and how these elements combine to produce a model. To facilitate this process, learning how to use the tools and materials at your disposal is one of the most important components of being a model maker. Knowing what the limitations of a material or the capabilities of a certain machine are is of vital importance, allowing for a quicker way of working as well as a deeper understanding of what can realistically be achieved.


You can find out more about some of the great modelmaking projects Mirko has worked on past and present on his website here.

B.15:45 Exhibition Review By Mirko Avalos Henriquez

Mirko Avalos Henriquez, A professional Modelmaker working in Berlin visited our exhibition recently and wrote this review in response.


The B.15:45 Architectural Modelmaking Exhibition at the Manchester school of Architecture offers a glimpse of the types of models used in the design and development of architectural ideas and concepts. The layout of the exhibition takes you on a journey through the various uses a model affords, from initial exploration of shapes, forms, materials and textures to refined and detailed representations of final design solutions.

The exhibition lets one clearly see how the process of using a model as an exploratory tool is in itself a vital component of the overall design process. Much like a sketch book of scribbles on a visual communication course or a book of fabric and colour samples on a fashion design course, the model can be used as a vehicle allowing one to visualise ideas in progress. The curators of the exhibition have organized the models in such a way that it is easy to make out the purpose of the model, through varying scales, materials, level of detail and colour. Technological advances in the production of a model or its component parts is also on show here with clear advantages and disadvantages in using new technologies and media evident in the quality of finish of a model.


We get to see structural details rendered large as well as whole city districts in a scale of 1:1000, suggestions for fantastical underwater prisons and futuristic 3D printing factories where whole buildings can be quickly produced. There are projects that are explained through a highly detailed series of models alongside more abstract explorations in shape and colour. From wood to copper, 3D printed parts to moulded plaster, the models on show cover a range of fascinating materials, production techniques and level of detail.

The art of model making and its use as a vital tool in the design process is presented in detail through lovingly preserved and at times repaired examples of models. Scott and Jim have done a fantastic job of making it easy to navigate this fundamental but often overlooked component to the study of architecture.  The B.15:45 Architectural Modelmaking Exhibition is a must-see not only for those interested in architecture but also for those curious to know what goes into the exploration and development of a design idea and how this creative principle is approached.

Mirko Avalos Henriquez, October 2014

You can find out more about Mirko’s experience in our profile post here.