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
Our first student in this year was an unexpected one. For some time now planning tutors have been encouraging their students to branch out into modelmaking as a tool to explain their proposals. Rachel Kerr decided to jump in and, having prepared her initial drawings for the model over the break, had no problem doing so.
Rachel Described the project for us:
The brief was to identify a disused corner site with a total area of less than 1 hectare for which we had to produce a redevelopment proposal. The site I worked on is to the west of Salford Central Station and is currently used for car parking (although it has been identified within the Salford Central Regeneration Strategy). The assignment requested that we assess the characteristics of the site and the surrounding area and use this analysis to produce a detailed brief for proposed redevelopment. Due consideration was given to urban design principles such as frontage, scale and public space. It was my intention to ensure that the site sits comfortably in within the surrounding area, whilst utilising the corner location to create a landmark for passing traffic.
The project uses simple material differences to divide the elements of the site. Because the model was made from laser cut ply there was the unavoidable scorching of the material edge. Rather that removing this, Rachel decided to capitalise on the burnt colour and stained the top surface of her site context buildings to match given them a dark colour in contrast to the sanded and clean look of her site in question.
Due to the small scale (1:500) of the model the site and road details we represented as engrave lines as any more definition was deemed of little importance to the overall representation required.
Once again the locally harvested ‘trees’ from our own model tree plant, as used on other projects, came in very useful and provided a natural and great finishing scale accompaniment along with a small number of 1:500 cars. Grassed or ‘Green’ areas are represented with a mottled green paper that gives a subtle contrast to the birch ply base.
The model was completed over approximately 3 days and is a good example of how to simply but effectively show the context of a site.
Following their recent inductions 1st year students have this week been flooding into the workshop to advance their initial ideas for the animal habitat project. We have been really happy even at this early stage with the response from this year in terms of organisation and good practices when approaching making. Hopefully we can continue this for the rest of the year and beyond to produce some great projects.
Due to the high numbers expected this afternoon and Friday we would recommend that you get in early and consult us on what you need to do before starting. We may advise that you work from home due to the nature of your project as we cannot accommodate more than 20 students at any one time. Please understand this and try to organise your ideas efficiently so we can help as quickly as possible and you can meet your deadlines on time.
Development of the 6th year pavilion projects is continuing at pace down in the workshop. Test models often bring assembly issues to the surface which Alexander Valakh, Lorena Chan and Nancy Chan have been finding with their concepts. This is exactly why these models play a vital role in design development.Â Here Alex has created his outer skin from laser cut polypropylene plastic sheet fixed with pop rivets. This has proved tricky and mid way through assembly it became clear that a more uniform stapled fixing would have been more effective.Â Lorena and Nancy have spent the last few days fixing components for this concept together. The original concept was to have a smooth curved structure forming the tunnel walkway. As the components were fixed the group found that the curve was un-uniform due to the varying strain between components. Whilst this isn’t exactly how the concept was drawn it has still proved an interesting experiment and may still be taken to the next stage.
The concrete cast (below) has also had some teething problems with the cast numbers not turning out as refined as the group would have liked. This process will require more thought if it is to be taken forward. The group has found that their choice of aggregate or quantity used may be to blame for the irregular casting around the number details. One thing is for sure it wont be going too far given its weight despite having a polystyrene block inside to reduce the material used!
Much like the brief set this time last year students are currently in the concept stages of designing a series of pavilions to be constructed at 1:1 at Dunahm Massey (Read our blog post here). This project was challenging for both staff and students last year and really pushed the boundaries of what the workshops can handle.
This year the project is aiming to be more refined and, with support of workshop staff, come to an effective and ‘speed-bump’ free conclusion!
Alexander Valakh (Below) is working on several sketch models to help convey his project named ‘The Shadow of War’ to tutors in the hope it will be taken to the next stage of development.
To test his theory for eventual 1:1 construction Alex had produced a plywood sketch model in identical fashion to the full size proposal on our CNC. Producing this model has allowed Alex to explore problems he may encounter whilst using this method and has already identified several areas that will need more thought. These issues are not a hindrance to the design process but feed into it and shouldn’t be seen as a waste of time. problem solving through trial and error models are often the best way of refining a design for production.
This group is also producing another concept pavilion using paper to create the sketch model. The flower-like components are created and joined using pop rivets which will eventually form a curved canopy.Â
Another (!) concept from the same group involves casting concrete blocks as part of a wall sculpture. This is part of the same brief but is less interactive due to the nature of the proposed site. This was poured yesterday afternoon and is still setting so we’ll hopefully have some more pictures of how that is progressing by the end of the week.
This 1:500 Site model was made by 6th Year MA Architecture Student Sam Higgins. The model uses limited block coloured components to clearly define the outlines of various parts of the site. This model was made using laser cutting and hand cutting of components and was largely assembled out of the workshop hours. This is often essential to achieve a high volume of physical work for your portfolio as workshop hours can be restrictive. It’s important to make the most of any allocated time slots or time you choose to spend in the workshop for the best outcome in terms of what you are trying to convey.Â