How to Build an Architectural Model (For Architecture Students and Not Only) - Part 1
Identify the purpose of your model and what its construction will offer you.
Are you making your model to understand the object or the space you are planning in three dimensions? Do you want to think about how to start building something in order to come up with ideas to continue with the design? Do you want to make a presentation of a project and you will use your model in the presentation?
Decide on the scale you want to construct it
Do you want to make a model of a landscape, a building or an object? What level of detail do you want to reach? For example, if you want to construct a landscape model, the relief of an area or a plot of land, you need to make a bigger minimization and use scales like 1: 1000, 1: 500, 1: 250. If you want to make the model of a building, of a big construction, e.g. a bridge, the interior of a space, then you must use scales like 1: 100, 1:50, 1:20, 1:10. If you want to make the model of a small construction, e.g. of a piece of furniture, then you will use a scale of 1:10 or 1: 5. You can also construct it in the original size of the object, which means in 1: 1 scale. In contrast, if you want to represent a detail on your model, like the connection of two elements, the relationship of different materials, the function of a joint, you can choose a scale of 1: 1 or zoom in a 2: 1 scale.
Decide what materials you will use for your model.
Even if you cannot imagine it at first, later during process, you will realize that there are many available materials you can use. And we do not mean model materials that give a realistic result, e.g. grass, trees, paper that looks like stone masonry, etc. Better keep them away from your architectural models, as tempting as they may seem. The question in architectural models is to represent the spatial qualities, the properties of spaces and objects and not reality.
Your decisions on these three matters will determine the type of model you will make.
So you can have a model
- which is small scaled and shows the relationship of buildings and basic design movements
- an idea that can be quickly constructed as a kind of sketch, hand-made, incomplete
- a presentation that ceases to be a design tool but it is an object for presentation
- a study of lighting used in an experimental way to determine the shape of interior spaces under the influence of light
- a detail showing the connections of construction elements
- materials, including materials that determine their relationship and their connection.
Technical information on the process of constructing a model will follow.