SimpsonHaugh B.15 Modelmaking Awards 2018

We are very happy to announce this years student modelmaking awards will be sponsored by SimpsonHaugh. Following on from our previous successes with recognising modelmaking at MSA this year we hope to further push students to be confident of their ideas through modelmaking.

Awards are open to BA 3rd year and both 5th and 6th year of MArch and will be awarded as 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes for BA & MArch MSA students.

Kristin Mishra, Model shop manager at SimpsonHaugh:

“We’re looking for students who demonstrate an understanding of the intrinsic link between drawings and models with appropriate use of scale and materials thus reflecting any architects need to think in both two and three dimensions.

Students should also address the factors that affect whether a model is made or not, build approach, time frame for delivery, and material costs.

At SimpsonHaugh we use physical models to explore and generate ideas, resolve and refine building proposals, communicate our design intent.  Models are especially useful in meetings and presentations. While sketch models quickly become obsolete, they document our design process – one approach didn’t work, so we tried another. We aim to help students understand that a model doesn’t have to be advanced to be of value. A simple model is as useful as a quick sketch, helping to understand three dimensional space in a way no other medium can.”

With this in mind students should be aware that these awards are not given for just one output but for an individuals application and or execution of a model or models in conjunction with their other design work.

Candidates will be notified of their nominations in the coming months before a final shortlist is chosen. All awards will be judged and presented by by MSA and SimpsonHaugh at this years end of year show opening on June 8th.

Awards Launch open office event

To mark the official launch of this years awards in collaboration with SimpsonHaugh there will be an introduction and open office event taking place on March 20th at 17.00. There will be a short presentation about this years awards scheme followed by a chance to, see the office/workshop, ask questions and network with SH staff.

>>>>>    Click here to register your place at the event.    <<<<<

Entry to this event is strictly limited and exclusive to MSA.

Sign up early to ensure your place!

SimpsonHaugh at B.15

Over the coming months there will be a number of dates where Kristin Mishra, Modelshop Manager at SH will be present at the workshop to offer advice and observe work in progress. This is a great opportunity to speak to a modelmaker who can offer a wealth of experience from her years of modelmaking in practice so is not to be missed. These dates will be confirmed soon and posted to Moodle so be sure to take advantage.

Find out more about SimpsonHaugh here:


‘Architecture and Media’ Project by 2nd year student Tom Cooper

The 2nd years ‘Architecture And…’ project for humanities requires a 3 minute video to be produced exploring architecture and a contrasting element.
My group choose Architecture and Media, as we thought showing this through a video is quite appropriate and the possibilities to explore this topic are vast and interesting to us, and hopefully others too.
My group; myself, Paúl Cedillo, and Carl Fletcher all wanted to produce a compelling and interesting video, leading us to choose one of the forms of media to be the physical model. And with the Benzie/Chatham being our building of focus by choice, Paúl Cedillo made a 3D model of it on AutoCAD to be 3D printed using the powder printer.

We choose this method as it provided us with the high detail we wanted in the tight and busy time frame we had. We first wanted a 1:250 scale model but realised the 3D printing bed restricted us, but not as much as the cost even with hollow interiors. However, 1:500 was too small of a scale as we would lose detail in the windows and more. We printed three test walls at 1:250, 1:350 and 1:500 to compare the quality, and this caused us to go for an unconventional 1:350 scale to achieve the detail and cost we were happy with. This print was then super glue covered for strength and attached to a laser cut MDF street base. –Tom Cooper, 2nd year BA (Hons) Architecture

Mecanoo B.15 Modelmaking Awards 2017 Winners

For the past three years Netherlands based architects  Mecanoo have generously supported our desire to celebrate the use of models within architectural design. The awards consider not just a single piece of work but each individuals attitude and approach to using physical models as a vehicle to advance the understanding of their design to both themselves and to others.

After a very tough judging session this years Mecanoo B.15 modelmaking awards were announced on Friday evening at the official opening of the Manchester School of Architecture end of year show.

We can’t stress enough how worthy everyone who made the long and short lists were this year so everybody should be very proud of themselves for producing such a high standard of work across the board.

Judging was carried out by:

Mecanoo representatives Laurens Kistemaker, Oliver Boaler and Paul Thornber.

MSA lecturers Dr Ray Lucas and Amy Hanley.

B.15 Staff Jim Backhouse, Scott Miller and Phillipa Seagrave.

The full 2017 shortlist document can be downloaded by clicking here.

This years winners are:


MArch 1st Prize – James Donegan – Continuity in Architecture

MArch 2nd Prize – Samuel Stone – Continuity in Architecture

MArch 3rd Prize – Daniel Kirkby and Vanessa Torri – Urban Spatial Experimentation

BA Architecture

BA 1st Prize – Ghada Mudara – Urban Spatial Experimentation

BA 2nd Prize – Theodoris Tamvakis – QED

BA 3rd Prize – Arinjoy Sen – Common Ground

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



Mecanoo B.15 Modelmaking Award 2016 Winners

Final judging for this years Mecanoo B.15 Modelamking awards took place on Friday afternoon ahead of the end of year show opening.

Representatives from Mecanoo were Laurens Kistemaker, Paul Daly, Oliver Boaler along with former MSA Student and previous award winner Sara Hammond. Representing MSA were Jim and myself and Dr Ray Lucas.

Judging awards

As with last years award judging looked at the overall quality of the finished models, The effectiveness of their response to the brief and the integration of modelmaking into each students designing process. This proved once again to be very tough and created a fantastic post-marking deliberation over the final results.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the efforts and quality of the students work, which therefore made it really hard for us to pick just 6 winners. We covered both sides (skill and representation of the brief) of modelmaking with a judging team of 3 modelmakers and 3 architects. I hope we as mecanoo together with Jim and Scott have contributed to push the continued importance of modelmaking in architectural learning and practice.”

– Laurens Kistemaker 


Prizes were presented by Laurens Kistemaker and Professor Tom Jefferies to the winners who were as follows:

1st Prize MArch: Daniel Kempski & Peter Lee



2nd Prize MArch: Natalie Dosser & Diana Muresan



3rd Prize MArch: Sam Beddingfield



1st Prize BA (Hons) Architecture: Ciara Tobin

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2nd Prize BA (Hons) Architecture: Akhil Mathew



3rd Prize BA (Hons) Architecture: Daniel Vella

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We would like to thank all at Mecanoo for their continued support of this award which has already built on last years success with another quality display of projects.

Congratulations to all who made the hard earned short-list and eventual winners! We hope you will continue to employ the use of modelmaking in your learning and future careers whatever they may be.

Scott and Jim at B.15

SLA Resin Printing by Akhil Mathew

It has been a year now since we purchased our own SLA resin 3D Printer. In this time we have had a varied degree of successes. Perhaps due to its relative infancy, we have come up against numerous issues with this printer meaning its use has been limited as it often required constant checking to ensure the process is working correctly. The best uses have come when a student has taken initiative to research the process for their own requirements. One such student is 3rd year Akhil Mathew who has kindly written about his application of the process and the various pro’s and con’s he experienced.


The SLA resin printer is very useful to communicate certain aspects of design due to the material the printer prints with. The printer can use a variety of coloured or clear resins to print. My project featured a separate internal structure within an external frame and therefore the clear resin was ideal for communicating this aspect of the design.

However, to make sure your model is printed correctly, a number of points need to be kept in mind.



This printer is unlike the ABS and powder printers not only when it comes to material but also the orientation in which it prints. The model is printed upside in layers by slowly raising a platform out of a pool of resin. My models would often not adhere to this base platform and that would cause the print to sag on one side. This might occur due to:

  • Problems with the model (inverted faces, un-welded vertices etc)
  • The base platform not being clean
  • Impurities in the resin
  • Insufficient foundation and support material


Due to the orientation in which the model is printed and the action of pulling the model out of the pool of resin may cause horizontal elements in the model to sag if vertical elements or supports are not introduced at nearby intervals. The floor plates of one of my first resin models sagged towards the inside as there wasn’t enough vertical elements. (This error would not have occurred with the powder printer or ABS printer)










Resin may get trapped inside the model if there isn’t an opening for the resin to drain out of. Again, one my first models still has resin trapped inside it and with resin being slightly translucent, it is visible and may not be desired.

Lastly, since these types of printers are still being tested and perfected, the printers are not perfect yet. Therefore, the printer may just ignore a certain element of the model without any warning. The best ways to get around this I found were:

  • Keep the model as simple as possible
  • Make sure the model is one object before converting to .stl
  • Within the object make sure the faces are oriented correctly
  • Make sure all vertices are welded appropriately

The SLA printer is a very interesting piece of equipment and the finished products if printed correctly look great and work perfectly to communicate exactly what I needed in my project.

– Akhil Mathew 2016


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Mecanoo B.15 Modelmaking Award 2016

We are very pleased to announce the return of the Mecanoo B.15 Modelmaking award for 2016!


Eligibility and Award Short-listing

The awards are open to MSA Part One Third year students and Sixth Year Part Two students. There will be three prizes for each year.

Short-listing and final judging will focus on process, purpose and finished quality of models within design and presentation stages.

This year we will be joined by Mecanoo in-house modelmaker Laurens Kistemaker who will assist with project short-listing and offer advice on student projects. Laurens will be on hand in the B.15 workshop throughout Friday 15th April and Friday June 3rd to observe and discuss your ideas. Be sure to come along and speak to Laurens for a unique insight from one of Mecanoos’ full-time modelmakers.

Laurens Kistemaker

Judging will take place on  Friday June 10th ahead of the annual MSA show opening where the awards will be presented.


Mecanoo are an award winning international architecture practice based in Delft, The Netherlands. Current projects include a renovation of the New York Public Library and the design for the new Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) project. Having now opened a Manchester office to support projects in the region the company are eager to strengthen their links with up and coming architecture graduates leaving the Manchester School of Architecture. Last years modelmaking awards yielded a strong interest from all participants and several employment opportunities followed.

Find out more about Mecanoo here: and click here to watch our short video about Mecanoo Modelmaking.

Following on from last year B.15 will be directing the award and will also support sponsorship for the prize winners.


BA Graduate Sara Hammond accepting her award last year. Sara has gone on to work for Mecanoo’s Manchester office.

We look forward to seeing what great projects come out of the coming months of work and wish you all the best of luck!

Jim, Scott and the team at Mecanoo

1:50 Site Model for Extreme Cold Accommodation by Tom Smith

Tom Smith (2)

Recent Part 1 Graduate Thomas Smith was one of the few shortlisted and eventual prize winners in our recent modelmaking award scheme. His project which looks at ‘Fuel poverty accommodation for an extreme cold climate’ balanced the benefits of laser cut components with fine hand crafting to made a crisp clean presentation standard model.

By considering the next steps beyond a medium, in this case laser cutting, the results can be fantastic and the skill and understanding conveyed is self evident.

Tom Smith (6) Tom Smith (8)

“The model conveys the overall structure and form of two of the building typologies I have designed. The elements of the model act in the same way as the structural elements I propose to incorporate.
The finish of the plywood when etched works well to represent the replaceable larch cladding, and the smooth un-etched finish replicated the internal finish of the structures and the walls and floors will all be finished with ply. The clear acrylic represents glass and the polycarbonate shell, allowing me the illustrate internal conditions in terms of lighting.

I feel that I have learnt to ensure that I plan how I am going to construct the model first to ensure that what I want to produce is achievable.”

Tom’s finished model is shown below. We wish him all the best for the future!

Mecanoo B.15 Modelmaking Awards


After many months of hard work from everyone at MSA the end of year show was officially opened at a private view event on Friday. We were pleased to include a new award recognising the use of modelmaking in students coursework.

Judging took place during Friday afternoon where we were joined by representatives from Mecanoo, Professor Tom Jefferies, Dr Ray Lucas to mark the short-listed work in person. From the outset it was clear this was going to be a difficult competition to win due to the high quality of the featured work.


Spending time to look at each piece in detail, the judges marked out of 50 based on our criteria.


The total scores caused a heated debate about the winners resulting in the decision to restructure our prizes from one to three winners for BA (Hons) as final scoring was so close.

Ernst ter Horst and Patrick Arends from Mecanoo noted that they were “inspired by the exceptional level of quality throughout and it’s important to stress these winners were all on a knife edge with scoring

The winner of the MArch prize was of “outstanding quality and creativity delivering a fascinating model of beguiling interest!” 

Winners were:

Overall BA (Hons) Winner – Paul Thornber


Highly Commended BA (Hons) 2nd Place – Sara Hammond


Highly Commended BA (Hons) 3rd Place – Thomas Smith


Winner of the MArch Prize - Hajir Alttahir


Individual descriptions of the winning projects written by the students can be found in the complete short list document available to view here.


We are thrilled with the response this award has had and are confident we can continue to recognise the great modelmaking work of our students with this as an annual award. As stated by Mecanoo we would like to repeat how close the scoring for this was and that every project picked was done so because of great quality and individual attitude to making which was believed to be fantastic so well done to everyone this year!

Good luck in your future careers!

Scott and Jim at B.15

Mecanoo B.15 Modelmaking Award


We are very pleased to announce in conjunction with our 45th year celebrations a new award for outstanding modelmaking at MSA.

The award will be sponsored by award winning architects Mecanoo who have recently expanded their offices to include a new Manchester branch.

“Model making is integral to the design process at our headquarters in Delft and we place a great deal of value in students who can demonstrate a love for the physical crafting and communication of space in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design.

As such, Mecanoo is proud to sponsor an award which recognises high quality model making skills at Manchester School of Architecture – a school in a city which has become our UK home. We hope that this prize will encourage final year students to push that little bit harder to make their models as experimental, pragmatic (and beautiful) as possible!”

Francesco Veenstra (partner in charge of UK projects)

The Awards

Two prizes will be awarded with one for BA 3rd Year students and one for 6th Year MArch Students. Prizes will be awarded at the end of year show on June 12th.

Representatives from Mecanoo will be in attendance and along with UoM and MSA staff will judge the winners.

In addition to the award for your portfolio, sponsorship from Mecanoo and ourselves will provide a cash prize of £500 per winner.

Models will be judged on their overall quality, choice of scale, material choices, chosen methods and the models effectiveness at conveying your design features.

We hope this gives you more of an incentive to think about your modelmaking skills and strive to improve on the great results we have already seen this year!

Good luck!

Jim and Scott at B.15