Architect’s Next Top Model



There’s no little turn on the cat walk, no sexy shirt, no tush shake, and no Right Said Fred- oh yes I did! However, there are some words of advice. If you’re working with an architect and there are no models in the office, slowly drop your gaze and retreat to the exit. Grab some magazines, markers, trace, whatever you can hold, and get out now! Go, Go, Go! How can you entrust someone to craft ‘space’ for you if they cannot themselves craft a representation of it?





I am not referring to virtual models- these inherently have a disconnect with the client and the process. Virtual modeling does have its place in the design process, and we use it as well. However, I am talking about Real, Physical, Touchable, Breakable, MODELS! There’s a unique dialogue that occurs when you pass a physical model around and discuss. Sure you can set up views and walkthroughs of a virtual model, and it does have its’ place in the design process. However, the keyboard becomes the gatekeeper for the process; it doesn’t ‘flow’ well. The importance of physically crafting a model is every bit as important to the design process as the idea itself. An architect needs to be able to craft form to the idea. Modeling is every bit as important as sketching.




Our projects typically begin with loose sketches indicating the distribution of the program as it relates to the site. Once those relationships are established, form is developed via model(s). Clients often participate in the creation/ re-creation/ destruction of the model. Models don’t need to be museum quality, in fact we rarely do a ‘final’ or ‘presentation model.’ Rather, we employ many ‘design models’- models that are built, examined, ripped apart, glued back together- models that are design ‘tools’ in the architects’ arsenal.




Now’s the time to stop reading, go build a model- chipboard, #11 blades, bass wood, cuts, glue, bleeding, etc. Seriously… go… build it… who knows, if you build it maybe Ray Liotta will show up!

Do you model? If not, why? Is it part of your process, or part of a final presentation?


Design On,

blog sig





If under 18, please consult an adult prior to using a #11 blade, we assume no responsibility for severed pieces. Originally posted May 03, 2012 edited/revised per date above.

(Visited 265 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply