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
This year 6 Group project uses Jelutong block to create the busy built up area of Venice, Italy where the focus site of their brief is located. Once complete individual site study models will be placed in context to demonstrate their relationship to the existing constructions and canals in the area.
Dividing up time consuming tasks like mass producing bespoke block model shapes can be sped up by involving all team members as long as everyone has a clear understanding of what is trying to be achieved overall.
After the recent onslaught of master plan models our stockroom was left somewhat depleted! Master plan models more often than not will require large pieces of wood to create multi-storey buildings in block form.
Whilst using laminated MDF sheets may seem like a cheaper option it is worth considering the huge amount of waste and resulting impact to the environment as a whole and the immediate surroundings. Cutting masses of MDF sheeting produces a lot of dust that when inhaled excessively can be very bad for your health (Wear Dust Masks!).
Laminating sheets together can also be time consuming and the finished aesthetics are less desirable. Jelutong block may seem expensive (Prices ranging between £15 to £40 per block) but the time saved in laminating and finishing may be comparable as the majority of master plans produced here can be achieved using a single £15 block when used economically.
Be sure to check with us about costings and the best approach for your model before rushing into anything. We use these materials almost everyday and can offer sound advice that will help you make the best of your projects in the most cost effective way.
Moving on from the first stage of this assignment the second year students have been refining their designs and fitting them to context. Scaled down models (above) were made to fit into bigger site plan showing them in context to surrounding buildings and landmasses.Â As was discovered in this case, fixing components or rather the design of the fixings on the components requires in depth thought. Whilst this structure was made to hold its form using adhesive, in reality a strong proven junction would be required and therefore this design requires more refinement.Â This site plan block model featured a removable contoured section made from cardboard where the various sample structures could be placed to demonstrate their relationship with the site.
3rd year Student Sandra Schenavsky decided to take a materialistic approach to her final submission model. The proposed site in Ancoats would feature a well rounded use of buildings to create a ‘Work, Life and Leisure’ balance for those who might use the space.
Sandra wanted to convey the different uses of each element of her design by representing them as near to her proposed material finish as possible. To do this the existing site and landscaping was represented in laser cut card contours. The main building itself was constructed using pigmented plaster casts to represent concrete sections, laser cut MDF to represent wooden cladding and laser cut acrylic to represent glass facades.
This was a great experimentation project which found a good balance of techniques. Casting plaster into MDF molds proved challenging but after several trials Sandra was able to come up with an effective way of casting the forms she wanted.
This project seemed to go on forever but Ben got there in the end after much thought and perseverance! Ben described the project in his own words for us:
“The project centred around the concepts of subtractive architectural restoration, revealing existing elements on site and adding additional elements to solve architectural anomalies often found in historical cities such as this. The models represent at differing scales how the site interacts with this new architecture as well as how my own building functioned within the new public spaces created by this subtraction. Many of the models are abstract forms of more sophisticated concepts yet the message remains concise as to what each model is trying to achieve by the way of simplifying the material pallet and not resorting to complicated methods. The models are also interchangeable as long as they are created at the same scale and can be reused to create new models later on or explain an idea in greater detail. Model making is an integral part of any designer’s toolbox and new techniques should be tested, however often you can find that a new take on a tried and tested method will result in unexpected outcomes that will further you design.”
This series of models certainly give a varied view of Bens proposed project which is exactly what you should be trying to achieve in your submissions. Models are there to convey different aspects of your design in the best possible way. Spending time to think about exactly what you want to show and how best to show it is time well spent as frustrating as it can be at times!
Also, as a side note to you all, unless you plan to take your array of models with you to interviews etc. then good photography is essential to document your work. We will be looking to a devoted photography area of the workshop in the coming months in time for the start of your new term in September.
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