Welcome to B.15 at MSA 2022/23

Welcome to all new and returning students as we begin another academic year. We’ve been very busy throughout the summer months putting into effect many months of planning to improve your modelmaking resource.

When are we open? 

Before explaining those updates we’ve had a few of you eager to get started so please note the following dates over the next few weeks are closed all day for new starter inductions:

Wednesday 5th October

MArch Session 1

Thursday 6th October

MA Architecture + Adaptive Reuse

MA Landscape Y1

Friday 7th October

MA Architecture and Urbanism Session 1

Monday 10th October

BA1 (Full cohort)

Tuesday 11th October

BA3 Catch-up from 15.00

Wednesday 12th October

MArch Session 2

Thursday 13th October

MA Landscape Y2

BA3 Catch-up

 CATCH-UP UPDATES BELOW (Workshop Closed to General Access) 

Friday 21st October

MArch Catch-up (Morning only)

Monday 24th October 

BA2 Catch-up (Morning only)

Monday 7th November

MA A+U Catch up (Morning)

BA1 Catch up (Afternoon)

After this point there will be a few other catch-up days TBC but generally speaking we’ll be open as normal 9.30-13.00 14.00-16.30 Monday to Friday during term time from Friday 14th October. 

So what’s new? 

Upgraded CNC router

We were able to upgrade and replace our ageing CNC machine with a new Isel M40 Overhead CNC router complete with automated tool changer for quicker job times.

This machine can be used in the production of 2D profile components and 3D models workable in 3 axis such as landscaping or organic extruded forms. The exact spec for file formatting and preparation work required will be outlined in an upcoming guide. Should you wish to discuss a project that might require the use of this machine drop in a speak to a member of B.15 staff.

Getting this in the building and in place was a task and a half that would not have been possible without the technicians at the Manchester Museum who supported with their time and equipment for a day and a half.


We now have an additional space increasing our capacity to allow an up to an additional 15 students to work in that area. Located on the opposite side of the basement, room B.12 will serve as a dedicated space for the following resources. You’ll see signage for this space and if you’re being inducted, will be shown around. Please don’t go to this room without discussing your project with a member of staff in B.15 first as it will only be opened as required.

Moulding and Casting

Due to popular demand we now have a dedicated space for moulding and casting. This is equipped with a permanent working and storage spaces and a new fume cabinet allowing us to offer the new option of working with casting resins.

3D Printers

In addition to this our 3 types of high-end 3D printer are now located alongside each other with a range of material types and colours listed in the updated materials list. All printers are available for use via a conversation with a member of B.15 staff.

Cricut Paper plotter

Replacing the Graphtec plotter which was primarily used for Papermetrics projects we have now invested in a Cricut machine which will be located in the new workshop space. Formatting instructions will be added to the CAD file prep page for reference.

Photographic Studio

We have invested in a newly fitted out photographic studio. The space features overhead gantry and free standing controllable lighting with 3 colour backdrops. This area is available for use on request and will only require booking for busy periods.


For new starters, your tutors will inform you about your upcoming induction schedule. As part of your inductions you’ll be asked to familiarise yourself with the B.15 General users guide. You can find the updated one here if you want to get ahead with this. Please try and get to us on time to help keep things to schedule and speed you along to start making with us.

With the main studios being moved to Manchester Technology Centre we thought it worth giving you some pointers to find us if you are unfamiliar. You can watch our brief intro here:

And with that we look forward to seeing you at you induction time or for those returning students, when you wish to begin your new projects with us.

More updates to follow soon!

Scott, Angus & Paulina (More about us here) 

Quick New Materials Update

Hi All,

We’ve just taken delivery of a few new materials to try out. These will just be whilst this initial stock lasts but if they’re popular we’ll consider adding them to the regular stock afterwards. Please let us know what you think about this when you’re in.

Balsa wood sheets 3x500x300mm £5.50 each – These sheets can be hand cut or laser cut if required.

Anodised Aluminium Sheets 1x500x250mm – These metal sheets can be engraved using the laser cutter but not cut. Within reason we can cut these to size using the bandsaw. Please ask us about this for more information.

Available in Aluminium £24 – Black £17 – Red £24

Mirrored Acrylic 3x300x200mm – We have had mirrored acrylic for some time but gold and red options are new samples. Available in Gold, Silver, Red £8 each If popular we can order larger sheets.

New Reference Book:

Architectural Monographs No 23 Morphosis: Connected Isolation Academy Editions 1993

This great monologues book is full of beautifully intricate models from Morphosis Architects. What is worth reminding yourself when looking through this one is that this book is a culmination of works that was first published in 1993 – long before computers and CAD making were commonplace. This work is truly hand crafted and gives many modern day modelmaking projects a run for their money. Full of great inspiration. Find it with our other reference books for use in the workshop only please.

Welcome Back to 2017-18 at B.15

Welcome back to the new academic year!

Over the next few weeks things will be picking up starting with the induction of all newcomers in 1st year followed by some returning and some new students in 5th year MArch.

The dates for these are Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th September for BA inductions, Thursday 28th September for MArch. During these days access to all other years will be restricted.

What’s New at B.15 this year? 

OBJET 30PRO 3D Printer

Over the summer we have installed a new type of 3D printer called a Stratasys Objet30Pro. This machine uses thin layers (28 microns) of resin to build objects which are supported by a jelly-like support material. Advantages of this machine are the fine layering which offers higher resolution prints, the ability to produce models in clear resin and the water soluble support material which is removed safely using a water jet system. Unfortunately this comes at a cost and the resin/support used is pricey indeed! It will be some time before the full extent of this machines capabilities are understood for our use so bare with us whilst we learn with you.

As with the other types of 3D printer the cost varies depending on the model. The exact cost in ml. of material to be confirmed but it’s likely to be the most expensive of the 3D printing options we have in B.15.

We intend to use this machine for specifically clear component requirements using Clear Resin called VeroClear. The outputs are clear but may require polishing to achieve a completely clear finish.

Reference Books

We have a few new additions to the B.15 reference Library as described below.

Model Perspectives: Structure, Architecture and Culture by Mark R. Cruvellier, Bjorn N. Sandaker and Luben Di, 2017

This brand new book presents a wide selection of case studies focussing in particular on structures and construction systems within building design. Each case study features a detailed overview essay and is accompanied by large prints of physical models that have been produced as part of each project. Some really great examples shown here – well worth a read.

supersurfaces: Folding as a method of generating forms for architecture, products and fashion by Sophia Vyzoviti, 2006

Folding Architecture: Spatial, Structural and Organizational Diagrams by Sophia Vyzoviti, 2003

Both of these pocket books by Sophia Vyzoviti provide a theoretical introduction to folding in design before presenting examples of folding techniques as the outputs of physical ‘paperfold’ algorithms. All featured work comes from within the context of architectural education and thus provides a great benchmark selection of works from you to take inspiration from. Great source material to get you started making sketch models.



Workshop Merchandise

We have recently had some workshop merchandise made up due to popular demand which is available to purchase in the workshop using the same payment system as the materials store.









Cotton Tote Bags with B.15 and new MSA branding and enamelled steel mugs (No drinking in the workshop people!) featuring the B.15 Logo are for sale both at £6 each with all money going straight back to the materials budget. There also is a T-shirt in development which we hope to have available soon. More information on that soon.

Materials Stock and Online Store Payments

There is no change to the payment system for materials and service payments this year. The full up to date materials list can be found here along with the link to the online store. We’d also like to remind everyone that payments should only be made after the materials have been issued to you as stock is variable and some items may not be available. Whilst we make an effort to keep things fully stocked at all times this is sometimes not possible therefore please remember that the materials list is a guide for your model design not a guarantee it is in stock all the time.  Always come to the workshop and find either of us to enquire and make payments rather than  making them from elsewhere.

Upcoming Exhibition 

Following on from Atelier La Juntana Summer school back in July we hope to exhibit the work produced sometime in the coming months so look out for that happening. We’ll post updates regarding that on here and moodle.

Social media

If you haven’t already don’t forget to  follow us on Instagram and Twitter @b15workshop where we regularly promote student work and ongoings in the workshop.









That’s all for now, See you soon!

Scott & Jim


Welcome to 2016/17 Academic Year at B.15

Welcome to all new students and those returning for another academic year!

What’s New at B.15? 

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  • 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

See you all soon!

Scott & Jim



What’s New in B.15 for 2015/16?

Welcome all new starters and welcome back to returning students! 

Last year proved to be a great success for our workshop and we hope to deliver more of the same for you this time around. In response to our student feedback survey we have implemented, and are in the process of implementing, some great positive changes to the workshop set up. Here’s what we’ve been up to….

New Benches

New Work Benches

One of the main issues we come up against is a lack of working space which was clearly spoke about in our recent student feedback survey. To help improve on this we have consolidated some of the ‘Staff Use Only’ Machines together freeing up space for an additional two workbenches.

We have also replaced the big ‘cubby hole’ style box benches that were located at the back of the room. These provided very limited storage space and we feel by replacing these with more of our existing locking cupboard benches they will serve much better purpose.

Updated computer software

The workshop computers have all been replaced and updated with the following software:

  • AutoCAD Architecture 2016
  • Autodesk Maya 2016
  • Autodesk Mudbox 2016
  • Autodesk 3DS Max 2016
  • Advance Steel 2016
  • Revit 2016
  • Rhinoceros 5 with Grasshopper
  • Sketchup Pro 2016

New On-line Store for Materials and Services Payment

Payment for materials and services such as Laser cutting and 3D Printing can now be made using credit card transaction within the workshop. Students wishing to pay for materials will be required to list the materials and or services they have been quoted for and present a confirmation receipt that can be shown on screen within the workshop.

To read the full walk through guide to the new payment system click here.

Unfortunately we can no longer accept payment vouchers however you can still use these at the A4 & More Store and as print credit at MMU. Apologies for any inconvenience this might cause.

New Materials in Stock

This year we are now stocking styrene strip material to aid your modelmaking. Rather than spending time to cut and create small components such as ‘I’ Beams and Roof Trusses these extruded strips are pre-shaped and easily cut to any desired size. This is much like you would buy ‘stock’ items when building at scale and should save a lot of time particularly when constructing section and detail models. The full up to date list of our materials and our initial stock for styrene strip can be found on the materials list here.

Styrene StripNew 3D printers

Providing an increased service capacity we have invested in two new 3D Printers to help produce components to complement your models.

Projet 360ProJet360 Powder Printer – This printer (shown above) provides a closed build and cleaning station and produces fine quality monochrome powder prints.

SLA Resin Printing (5)Pegasus Touch SLA Resin Printer - This printer uses UV curing resin to create models in a variety of coloured resins. This printer will temporarily be located in our office to keep it maintained in a clean environment.

A more in depth description of these process can be found on the link detailed below.

Updated guides to 3D printing, Laser cutting and CNC machining

In an effort to make it easier for you all to get set up and understand how we use different machines for modelmaking we have written updated outlines on file formatting and considerations when preparing your files. In addition to this we have written descriptions of the different processes and pro’s and con’s to be aware of.

These will be uploaded soon on the Machine Booking and File Prep Page here.

Main Tool Cupboard

As a result of our new ProJet 360 Powder Printer we have relocated our main tool cupboard. Hand and power tools can now be found in the far corner of the room by the wood turning lathe in a much bigger tool cupboard.

New Books

We have added some new books to our modelmaking making library. Please feel free to look at these for reference in the workshop.

  • The Model and Its Architecture, Partick Healy, 2008

An in-depth theoretical study of models as a response to problems in design and their multifaceted applications.

  • My 36 Years of Model Making in Hong Kong, King Y.Chung, 2012

Veteran Hong Kong Modelmaker King Chung charts his modelmaking career working on some of Honk Kongs most famous building projects giving insights into problem solving and application of models in practice.

  • Folding Techniques for Designers: From Sheet to Form, Paul Jackson, 2011

‘How to’ style handbook for creating forms from folding paper. This could be particularly useful for initial idea sketch modelling and could also be used as a basis for more refined model construction.

  • Modeling Messages: The Architect and the Model, Karen Moon, 2005

A detailed theoretical history with examples and quotes from some of architectures more famous figures. A wide range of model styles, their context and application are covered in a well balanced written and visual history of the field.

New Books

Symposium Videos

Over the summer we have been releasing the video presentations from our Symposium, ‘Modelmaking in the Digital Age’ which took place back in March. The presentations provide an insight into how modelmaking has evolved and is used throughout architecture. For those who missed the event we recommend having a watch as the day was extremely insightful to anyone wanting to know more about using models in their work.

Links to all of the video presentations can be found by clicking here.

B.15:45 Exhibition

Following several discussions we are pleased to say that the B.15:45 Architectural Modelmaking Exhibition will continue and be updated periodically due to its success as a learning resource and general popularity within our school. The exhibition will remain largely untouched for the start of the 2015/16 academic year but updates will be made and additional more recent examples will be in 2016.

Future Plans

We will be negotiating a way to gain additional storage space that will then allow the installation of spraying and spray extraction equipment to complement our facility. This will take some time but be assured we are working on it!

Following the success and popularity of our student awards for modelmaking last year we intend to run the same scheme again with a longer lead time to get the most out of every projects. We will provide more information when plans for this are finalised so stay tuned!

Mecanoo Office and Workshop (36)

As always we will be keeping an eye on other institutions and practice to give as many insights into modelmaking in architecture as we can. A summary of our recent trip to Delft Technical University and the Mecanoo architecture practice will be uploaded soon.

Once again, Welcome back and we hope to make this year even better than the last for all involved. See you soon!

Jim and Scott