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
3rd year Coexistence in Theory has been focussing on a stalled site located next to the Mancunian way in Manchester. The group will use this abandoned infrastructure to propose new interventions that will bridge the site bringing in to back into functional use. The group decided to represent a large portion of the Mancunian way which runs through the city along with building massing and defined roadways across the site. This was done by overlaying grey card board pieces to act as raised pavements creating contrast with the light coloured plywood base below which provides the road areas.
The stalled site in question is represented in more detail due to its importance and comparative skeletal appearance to the rest of the buildings in the area. This was made using laser cut ply whilst the main massing of the rest of the model is made us of blocks of pine cut and sanded to shape.
Group member Georgina Erotokritou described why the group are producing the model for their projects:
“It’s the easiest and most understandable way to explain ideas, space and arrangements in 3D space. Because this model covers a wider context it is easier for the viewer to see the entire picture and see how our buildings connect to the site.”Â
The model is now being used as a stage to present the groups ideas as they develop throughout the year.
This project looks at a site sandwiched between exiting buildings and natural boundaries in Stockport centre. As with most of the projects I have seen Fin work on it’s great to see someone using a variety of media on their desk to inform the decisions in making and in turn use the results to influence their ideas.
As the site includes several large tower blocks it was decided to create the masses as hollow boxes to both save on material and weight of the completed model. The box sections seen here were carefully made up from planes of material – most of it scraps from other projects.Â
Once again being concious of material use, Fin designed his contour base to be laser cut into steps with supports as opposed to entire sheets. This again saves material and overall weight. The process requires some minimal extra consideration when producing drawings but the savings are great and well worth the effort. Read more on this method of construction here.
To create the imposing and dominating viaduct feature which spans across the site Fin chose to use a solid mass created from pine. The arches were drawn out and rough cut on the bandsaw before being sanded smooth.Â Legs for the viaduct were created as separate pieces with varied heights depending on their position across the contours. The legs were then clamped and glued over night.
Finbar gave us a few words reflecting on the project so far:
‘The model has helped to negotiate a complicated landscaping condition, in that the envelope links three different levels: water, ground and the 1st floor gardens, of a proposed Waste Water Treatment Plant in Stockport city centre. The context is modelled with traditional craft methods as I feel the site has a great sense of history, including the famousÂ Stockport Viaduct. It has helped to explore sensitive ways of repurposing existing warehouses I used Pepakura software to produce nets of meshes generated in Grasshopper for Rhinoceros, for the initial massing proposals. The next step is to combine the spatial arrangements of the building with environmental analysis and try new massings on the same model.’
The completed model has a removable site section to allow different proposals to be inserted into context. Fin has already made several suggested forms from card as seen below.Â
This first year group have made a great set of models to demonstrate the various design considerations used in this Louis Kahn design. The building was designed in 1969 but never built.
The group decided to produce a 1:50 section model showing the internal construction. This was achieved through a combination of laser cut and hand made components. The original design proposal was to be made from stone and would appear consistent throughout. For this reason the group decided to make the model’s using wood with light staining to blend the lighter timber with the MDF sheet.
The groups 1:100 model (below) shows the extent of the proposed completed building. The group used pine to cut the outer wall components which were stained. A nice feature of this model is the ability to remove the roof sections to view the internal layout.
This is the groups site plan model demonstrating its relationship geographically to the nearby mosques which had be a key element of the design from an early stage. The line of sight is shown using red thread across the landscape.
Year Six student Richard Coskie has a history of making things from clear cut hand finished materials in our workshop. This project is no exception and as Richard explains, is continuing to influence his design decisions as the project develops.
“My project is an Urban Cultivation Cooperative Centre, located on a site that is nestled between train tracks and the canal, on the old Castlefield junction at the south end of Deansgate. The 1:200 scale site model I have crafted in the workshop from pine, is proving very useful in the development of the project for investigating relationships between different programmes. I hope to display the final scheme on the site model, as well as creating other models at other scales.
The decision to create the site model void of any digital fabrication was an easy choice for me. Firstly, because the site has a low-tech and industrial aesthetic, which is better achieved by sculpting arches from a single, chunky, piece of wood. But most importantly, as a designer, I feel it is important to learn the dimensions of a site, by actually planing the topography to scale, or sawing, carving and sanding the arches to size. For the moments that one is engaged with the manipulation of their model, I believe that it is as vital a time as any for visions to come to fruition.”
Designing a building requires attention to every detail. This attention must take into account the limits of construction materials and how they can be managed an assembled in reality.
The only way to do this well is to have a good understanding of construction and material mechanics. Structural detail study models allow us to focus on specific junctions of framework and often bring potential problems with assembly to our attention.
Whilst it is very important that you, as an architect in training, have a thorough understanding of building materials. These models should not focus too much on the 1:1 ‘real world’ materials. Your area of study is in understanding how components interact or don’t interact with each other in terms of their physical shape. Testing material strengths, weaknesses and compatibility for a particular role requires much more in depth study and often more space than our workshop can provide.
The models shown on this post are made to mimic real materials to reduce weight and construction restrictions whilst still conveying their assembly effectively.