Exhibition: ‘Atelier La Juntana: A Modelmaking Summer School’

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MSA Students who took part in the summer school ‘Atelier La Juntana: Modelmaking in the Digital Age’ will present their work from 1st to 8th December.

The exhibition will present the various process studies accomplished over the week long course. Processes include: Wood Carving, Mould Making, Multiple Material Casting, Clay Tile Sculpting, Etching, Engraving and Screen Printing.

Atelier La Juntana: A Modelmaking Summer School

1st to 8th December
Grosvenor Gallery,
MMU School of Art.

Opening event with Atelier La Juntana Founder Armor Gutierrez Rivas taking place 1st December 16.00 – 18.00.

Atelier La Juntana Summer School July 2017

Between 19th and 25th July a group of 14 MSA students and B.15 took part in ‘Modelmaking in the Digital Age’ Summer school in the North of Spain. Atelier La Juntana has been run for several years by Architect brothers Armor and Nertos Gutierrez Rivas along with their father, Daniel Gutierrez Adan. This is the first time the course has been held exclusively for a single institution.

The course is designed to encourage individuals to investigate different materials and processes and in turn open them up the possibilities within craft for their presentations. This is not a course about conclusions but about the journey of exploration and how we should each take more time to appreciate the hand crafted approach in our work.

Throughout the week students explored the following, each involving many sub processes:

Silicone Mould Making, Resin Casting, Jesmonite Casting, Casting with Pigments, Plaster Mould Making and Casting, Clay Tile Sculpting and Replication, Sand box Moulding, Casting Aluminium, Photo Etching on Zinc Plates, Hard Etching on Zinc Plates, Press Printing, Paper Embossing, Screen Making and Screen Printing on Fabrics.


All students took part in these activities getting to know much more about each process and it application as well as building great social links with each other. Outside of the workshop the group were taken on a tour of the surrounding area of the Liencres nature reserve and also of Santander. The tour took in the cities Cathedral and other architectural landmarks before visiting the ‘Arte Y Architecture’ exhibition which featured work from previous workshops.In addition to the practical tasks undertaken each day there were introductory lectures explaining each process and its application as well as a lecture from Croatian architect Rosa Rogina who presented some of her work which has used modelmaking to help convey important human messages looking at the rebuilding of a coral reef and also about the impact of land mines across former war zones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The workshop culminated with a display of the outcomes from the across the week with each students explaining the process undertaken. Students were then given a diploma for their achievements before helping to put together a celebratory BBQ in the workshop garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We would like to thank everyone at Atelier La Juntana for making us all feel so welcome and putting on such a fantastic week for us all. In addition to that we would like to thank everybody who took part in this experience for making the trip over and getting involve. We hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did and look forward to seeing the skills being used in your future projects!

It is hoped that the work will be put on display in the coming months here at Manchester School of Architecture and that Armor will be present to speak about the experience.

Look out for updates about this and future workshops! Find out more about Atelier La Juntana here.

Scott

Atelier La Juntana Summer School 2017 MSA Exclusive, Santander, Spain

new MSA Summer Workshop_Model Making in the Digital Age 17_A3 Board

We are pleased to announce an exclusive week long course of modelmaking and craft skills this summer taking place exclusively for MSA 2nd and 5th year students this July. This unique course takes place in a National Park in the North of Spain between 19th and 26th July 2017.

Atelier La Juntana is a week-long workshop experience designed to teach architecture students a wide range of traditional and contemporary skills for use in architectural modelmaking.

Watch the trailer for the school here:

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This intensive course is designed to gives 15 students new skills and access to traditional and cutting edge facilities, allowing them to build on existing model making skills and raising the level significantly for future projects. The course is taught by Architects and Artists from the University of Madrid. B.15 technicians will also be attending alongside yourselves as participants in the course.

The cost of the course has been significantly subsidised for students of MSA to a cost of £354 per student (Correct as of March 5th 2017 -Subject to minor fluctuation in the exchange rate).

This cost covers the full 7 day course,accommodation for 8 nights (arriving Tuesday 18th July leaving 26th), The workshop is a full-time course, starting at 09.30am and finishing at 5.30pm each day, with a total of 56 learning hours. Each participant will have his or her own working space; access to Wi-Fi and the library, printer and plotter; a resting area in the garden; and access to a small kitchen.

Flights are the individuals responsibility to book. Direct flights to Santander or Bilbao (coach or train to Santander) can be booked from London – more information following application. 

Deposits of 150 Euros each required by 14th April latest to secure accomodation and a place on the course. Remaining balance (subject to exchange rate) will need to be paid no later than June 15th.


Apply to Join!

What do you need to do to join us? The course is exclusively for 2nd and 5th year students wanting to pick up new skills to be brought back to the final year at MSA.

Please download and fill in the application document and return it as soon as possible to scott.miller@manchester.ac.uk

DOWNLOAD APPLICATION DOCUMENT

Due to the exclusivity of the course there are a limited number of places so please don’t hesitate to send your application over.

More information can be found on the official website here: http://www.atelierlajuntana.com/SummerWorkshop.html

If you have any questions please get in touch: scott.miller@manchester.ac.uk

We look forward to hearing for you!

Scott & Jim

Taking Making into Practice: Hawkins\Brown Architects

Earlier this year we were approached by Hawkins\Brown Architects to host a CPD session for their Manchester office, several of whom are Alumni of Manchester School of Architecture.

This gave us the opportunity to consolidate our current approach at MSA and present the idea of model making in a new inspirational light.

Much like our approach to tacking problems in the workshop we began by getting to the heart of the subject. Looking at the origins of the craft we asked ‘where did it all start and why?’ The craft’s background bares many similarities to our current thoughts and reasoning behind modelmaking. The physical model is viewed as an embodiment of ideas, beliefs and values to be read by others.

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Our presentation followed the timeline of history, using ancient and classical precedents to modern day applications in architectural practice, portraying the changes for the maker and architect. Expanding on our exploration, we asked Hawkins\Brown to tell us their views from a project level and their thoughts on the future of modelmaking in practice. We gain an insight from Hawkins\Brown Architect and MSA Graduate Jack Stewart who has a keen interest in the ever evolving relationship between physical modelmaking and digital fabrication.

“I’d bet there isn’t a single project that makes it through Hawkins\Brown without at least one model being produced for it. 

We can make models for all stages of projects and using models as design tools is an essential part of our process. Quick sketch models are invaluable to explore our ideas in three dimensions with design teams. Whilst these and more polished models are fantastic tools to help describe schemes to clients and sell schemes to stakeholders or consultation groups, such as planning. Clients love handling a tangible three dimensional object and we love testing them”

Education and Practice

The idea of making in practice is something that many of our students wish to continue and in many cases would gladly devote a lot of more of their time to. This often raises the question of how this ideology can be and is fulfilled in practice. What can come as a surprise is the broad selection of styles and scales of model making that is actively used in practice everyday.

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For example Hawkins\Brown have just invested in a new modelmaking workshop space at their London base and have a designated maker space at their satellite Manchester office which recently celebrated its 1st year of work.

“Historically we have relied upon design teams to construct their own physical 3D models and when a particularly onerous or complex model has been required we would outsource this to a specialist model maker. We don’t anticipate the latter disappearing, but we do value the close link between our design teams and the models that they are using. As such we have recently employed an in-house model maker. We’re at a size now where an in-house model maker is really valuable to help educate on model making techniques, explore more possibilities, maintain the equipment that we have in-house and make the connection with external resources for machines and materials that we don’t have in-house. We anticipate this will help to take our in-house models to the next level.”

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What is particularly encouraging about this approach is the value given to the craft of model making and the potential for those within architecture to utilise the skills they have learnt within their education.

“[Our] design process doesn’t follow a company standard. Every project is unique creating a unique series of design challenges. Like the adage says, ‘there are many ways to skin a cat’, it is up to the individuals within a design team to decide how they would like to best approach a design problem. In many cases this results in the creation of a physical model.”

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Working space

Having worked in several different modelmaking companies and visited many different workshops, no two set-ups are the same. Finding a balance of the appropriate tools to fit out a workshop is instrumental in making each output achieve its intended purpose. Hawkins\Brown are striking this balance between hand craft and digital fabrication.

“We have much of the more traditional facilities and equipment such as cutting mats and tools for thinner sheet materials, hot wire cutters for foam models and numerous typical working tools for material preparation. We invested in a laser cutter four years ago, which further increased our ability for model production.”

The company have also recently purchased a ‘MakerBot’ and ProJet360 Powder printer with a view to speeding up the production of complex forms that can be deemed too time consuming for traditional making techniques during design development. Time, or a lack of it, is certainly a major consideration when it comes to the application of modelmaking in student submissions. The increased pressure for a variety of submissions at once allows little time to learn through making. This is something that we strive to improve upon, though how is this considered in practice? How does project time factor in allowance for modelmaking requirements? Jake Stephenson is a recent part 1 architect working at Hawkins\Brown who has continued modelmaking into practice.

“[Modelmaking] is very important and affirms what we learned at university about the process informing the design. In practice [modelmaking] goals are usually a decision made between myself and the project architect about when it would need to be completed by. Being realistic about my own time and skills as well as how fast a model would can be created. It’s very much about my awareness of time scales; booking laser cutting sessions, getting files ready – then allowing enough time to build my model for the deadline we set ourselves.

When it comes to costs it’s about giving options. For example when doing an iterative sketch model, I would use cheaper materials, compared to a model that is to show the client where the budget would generally be bigger for material costs. We would always try to source the cheapest most effective options by checking with multiple suppliers to get the most for our budget.”

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Thoughts on the future

There are many perceptions of what it is to practice architecture as we are reminded daily in our workshop and without fail at every university open day. If we were to give a cross section of the questions we were regularly asked by prospective students and their parents it would invariably bring up something about technology and CAD driven machines. The awareness within the general public has increased due to the shift in accessibility of mainstream manufacturing techniques and prototyping. It’s important to remember that much of this stereolithographic technology is not as new as so often perceived. What has changed in recent years is the relative ease for interested parties to use it. This has led to an almost universal expectation that these mediums be made available in education and that accessing them is a given and large part of modern learning.

Our responses to the often broad enquiries in the area of 3D Printing and Laser cutting often lead us to ask a lot of ‘Why?’ based questions. ‘Why are we setting out to make a particular object and why do you believe such a machine can get you to that goal?’

Our concern and reasoning here is in the misuse of technology as a learning tool. There is often a strong desire from students to depend upon it without understanding their own intentions or purpose of their exploration through the model. We advocate the work ethos to our students to stop and think before diving straight in.

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For Jack Stewart, having a strong interaction between traditional and contemporary data driven approaches is very important for successful outputs and effective learning within the Hawkins\Brown team.

“With BIM becoming ever more prevalent, in the construction industry, digital models for detail production and delivery of projects are becoming increasingly important. But how we generate the forms and arrangements of our buildings, at a concept design stage, benefits hugely from both digital and physical modelling too.

For CAD modelling it is a particularly interesting domain. A model that perhaps begins life as a simple massing study will evolve, through to construction, usually through numerous separated studies. However now, through using emerging generative modelling technology, this entire process can potentially be captured in one software tool. The possibilities here are that decisions made, that are dictating early design principles, could in theory be amended much later in the process with all subsequent detail updating accordingly. This is possible as more sophisticated digital models geometries can be defined as a series of design decisions that are stored as data, rather than statically sculpted ‘dumb objects’.

The benefits of models stored as data is the ability to translate this data, quite easily, into something else – something physical. And with the accessibility of rapid prototyping and the machines described previously the connection to and knowledge of these machines will likely become increasingly important. The techniques and skills needed for model making will certainly grow in this regard. Whilst the skill required to manually craft materials into beautiful models, should not be lost, I believe future model makers will become even more well versed in intelligently generating CAD models and then streamlining these for fabrication. Here I see the boundary that we define between digital and physical models, and between designer and model maker, changing.

Putting together our initial presentation for a CPD has been a good opportunity to reflect and analyse our beliefs about modelmaking at B.15.  With the ongoing digital shift in architecture, the role of the architect is changing and architectural education needs to respond to that. Graduates who can identify the best means to explore their ideas through proven skill will be more sought after than those who solely depend on technology to make their decisions. Our ongoing discussions with Hawkins\Brown have proved insightful and we look forward to working more with this growing practice.

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Hawkins\Brown have offices in Manchester and London employing some 240 architects. Current projects include the London Crossrail development and the Schuster Annexe at The University of Manchester (render shown above).

Many Thanks to Jack Stewart & Harbinder Singh Birdi & to Laura Keay & Jake Stephenson for inviting us to present.

For More information visit: http://www.hawkinsbrown.com/ 

Scott Miller, B.15 Modelmaking Workshop 2017

B.15: ARCHITYPES Exhibition

ARCHITYPES PosterWe are very pleased to announce a new modelmaking exhibition of student projects opening September 2016: ‘B.15: ARCHITYPES’

The exhibition charts the different applications of modelmaking used by students of Architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture acting as a point of reference and inspiration in the subject.

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Featuring over 80 pieces of varied types and styles from across 5 years of education. The display is supported by a brand new guidebook describing the projects material make-up and context.

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Private View Opening

The exhibition will be opened with a private view on Friday 16th September from 17.30 onward. Dr Raymond Lucas will be present to officially mark the opening with a short introduction. This event is free for all so please come and join us in celebration of the subject there will be refreshments provided.

The exhibition will then be open 9.00 – 16.30 Monday to Friday.

Please contact us if you require any further information: scott.miller@manchester.ac.uk

Hope to see you there!

Jim & Scott

Making the U.o.M. Snowglobe Model – A Guide to ‘Chemi-Wood’ Block Modelling

Exterior of Manchester UniversityThis project was given to me from the University estates department who were wanting a representation of the University of Manchester’s Whitworth hall and tower that make up the Oxford road side of the old quadrangle complex. The model would then be used in a snow globe for a Digital Christmas Card sent out across the University.

As the project required the model to be waterproof I decided it would be a good opportunity to record the process of using Ureol, commonly known as Chemi-Wood or Model Board.

Whilst in this case I am using Chemi-Wood as the main material, the methods used are applicable to any kind of massing representation – this one having perhaps more detail than normally required due to its purpose.

Here is my step by step record of the process undertaken for around 5 hours over a period of a week when ever I found any time! I have included my rough sketches and thought process description to help understand how I chose to tackle the difference aspects of this representation.


 

Planning

The model had to be a maximum of 100mm long to allow it to fit within a snow globe. Firstly I scaled the CAD Drawings based on the required size and printed a plan and elevation to directly reference the model components as building each one. Having an accurate plan to work to is essential. Always check and double check it is printed to the correct scale.

DSC05143With the printed plans as a guide I began dividing the model into components to be massed out, thinking in my head and in turn on paper about any pitches or areas that may need to be removed later.

By identifying commonly sized components, or close to the same size you can then best determine how to cut your material to avoid waste. In this case the height and width of two components happened to be the same so I started by cutting a piece at 22mm wide.

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Primary Massing
Cutting a block at 22mm width gave me a thin sheet off-cut which will come in handy later. Always keep hold of thin strips like this as they prove very useful when making add on details.
DSC05146 By putting a piece of sandpaper on a flat board we can easily sand the sawn face of a piece of material to flatten off any saw marks. With chemi-wood in particular this is very straight forward and gives a smooth clean finish. Taking the time to remove saw marks at each stage of production will save time in the long run and helps to keeps the resulting components looking crisp.

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Creating a pitched roof

Accurately marking on guides when creating a pitch is recommended as without them we can only presume the machines are set accurately which, given the number of people who use our workshop, is often doubtful!
DSC05155 DSC05156 Once the piece has been cut to the required length it can then be sanded down using the disc sander, in this case removing the minimal amount of material on the edge to create the pitch as marked. Blocks with larger areas to be removed should be cut down closer to the marked line before sanding to avoid burning out the sanding discs and creating excessive force on the machine. Note that I have marked the pitch at the end of the piece to ensure there is enough material to hold on to whilst sanding reducing risk of injury. Always check your marked guide lines as you go.

DSC05163Once the pitch is complete the piece can be removed from the block. DSC05168Smaller components that require pitches can sometime be achieved as part of a bigger block using the end of a longer strip of material as shown below. Again this was created using the disk sander and clear marking as a guide. For now this piece will remain attached until the massing detail has been added.  DSC05182The tower section was measured out from the plan and two-stage pitch added. This photograph shows the second pitch marked out ready to be sanded.

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Massing Details

The second phase of the model is to establish what details need to be added to take the blocks to a more familiar form. As with all models a level of detail needs to be established across all components. In this case the archway and repeated buttress’s are of notable presence and so provided the basis for the other relief details as sketched below.

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DSC05191Using the thin sheet off-cut from the first block, I took the elevation details of the archway from the CAD drawings and created the archway port surround and turret details by layering the two. Laser cutting is great for such intricate parts but presents a problem when finishing due to the fragile nature of such thin components. Care had to be taken when sanding off burn marks so spare components can come in handy if there are any breakages. DSC05193I used a medium thickness cyanoacrylate ( AKA superglue) to carefully stick the layered details together. Only small spots of glue were used and can be applied with the end of a cocktail stick or a scalpel blade.

The layered up arch facade can then be applied to the primary massing from earlier taking care to center it as marked. DSC05194Once fixed the material filling the arch is removed in notches using the bandsaw – controlled easily thanks to the extension we have the piece built on with a push-stick. DSC05197After hand filing the curve of the arch using a round file the piece can be parted off from the extension and excess material carefully sanded back to the marked line taken from our printed scaled plan. DSC05201


STOP PRESS! MISTAKE DETECTED!DSC05212Leaving the workshop and walking down past the Whitworth Hall after work I noticed an error with my model so far in that I had wrongly presumed the footprint of the tower made up the entire plan print as shown. This in fact turns out to be wrong and the tower makes up just over half of the block footprint.

No need to panic!

By reviewing the plans and evaluating the oversight It was easily rectified by modifying the piece using the top center as a reference to reduce the overall size and roof pitch line. We all make mistakes so no need to worry if this happens when your making your model – its how we handle them that matters.

What ever you do don’t ignore it – especially if it is connecting to another part of the model as there is always a knock on effect with errors that will come back to haunt you! Try to take the time to do it right even if it means starting again.

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 Massing Details Continued

The next details I made were the spires at the top of the towers on the end of the Whitworth Hall. to create these I took a square section of chemi-wood from the offcuts and fixed it into the chuck of a hand drill.

DSC05216Taking note of the required 6mm radius I used 120 grit sandpaper to reduce the section down to a dowel, regularly checking the size with calipers.

DSC05217Once the dowel was a 6mm I marked on the low point of the spire and used a needle file to reduce it down to a point before adding a shoulder at the base. The completed spire was then removed with a junior hacksaw before being lightly sanded flat at the base.

DSC05219DSC05223DSC05224The buttresses along each side of the Whitworth hall were made using thin strips that were layered up (shown below) on top of each other having been cut to the specified step heights.
DSC05253 Once fixed I put this piece into the laser cutter and cut strips through the joined layers creating the buttress profiles. These were then carefully fixed in place using small amounts of cynoacrylate.DSC05256 Finally I simplified the corner spires that finish the tower using the CAD Files maintaining the same basic level of detail as shown on the other detail elements. These were then fixed in place before fixing the tower to the archway and Whitworth Hall sections. DSC05260The model could now be painted easily due to the smooth surface finish of the components. In this case the raw material finish sufficed and it remains its clean colour.

DSC05261The completed Model was then fixed into a snow globe to be used for University of Manchester marketing.

Hopefully this guide will give some useful pointers for your future models. If there’s anything you are uncertain about doing yourself always ask. – Scott

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UoM Twitter

 

30 Years of Modelmaking at Mecanoo…

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Back in September we were invited to attend the 30th anniversary celebrations at Mecanoo’s head office in Delft, The Netherlands.

As part of the event we took the opportunity to pry into modelmaking theory and history there by speaking to long-standing Senior Modelmaker Henk Bouwer and Modelmaker Laurens Kistemaker.

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The use of models is clearly a key ingredient to the design process here and will no doubt endure for another 30 years or more! We’ll be continuing our collaboration with Mecanoo in this years modelmaking award scheme. More on that soon.

Enjoy!

Scott and Jim

Visit to Mecanoo Architects and the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture

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Last month we were invited to attend the 30th anniversary celebrations of Mecanoo Architects in Delft, The Netherlands. As part of our visit we were able to tour the Mecanoo office and workshop and conduct interviews with their long-standing head of modelmaking, Henk Bouwer and Modelmaker Laurens Kistemaker.

Our visit was dominated by modelmaking related talk and the promise of future collaboration for our Modelmaking award scheme. We will continue to refine the scheme and Mecanoo are very enthusiastic about increased involvement with the school and award process. More updates on this soon.

The complete video interview with the Mecanoo modelmakers will be uploaded to our blog in the near future.

During the evening event Creative Director of Mecanoo, Francine Houben presented a chronology of the people the have been part of the company with their projects mentioned in throughout. The diverse staff that have come and gone from the company were clearly well thought of and many present during the presentation. Special mention of Henk Bouwers extensive and continued service highlighted the importance models play in the practice as we are well aware following our collaboration with them earlier in the year.

Some of Mecanoos key projects include the TU Delft Library, La Llotja Theatre and Conference Centre in Spain, Birmingham Library and more recently the HOME project in Manchester.

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In addition to the Mecanoo insights we were able to have two separate tours of the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture. Technician Geert Coumans gave us a full tour of their workshop facility allowing for some obvious comparisons of working practice which left us reassured about our approaches to modelmaking in architectural education. The TU Delft facility has an annual intake of approximately 300 new first year students which is reflected in the size of their combined workshop and studio space. The facility was hastily designed as a result of the unfortunate fire that burnt down the previous school building in 2008. The resulting workspace is vast and lofty with workshop areas divided according to their purpose.

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In a second tour of the studio and lecture spaces we were shown around by lecturer John Heintz. It was pleasing to see models in every conceivable space around the school during our two visits. One fascinating part of the school is an extensive collection of original classic chairs which are housed in a connecting corridor between the two main wings of the school.

Facilities include: Woodworking Machines, two CNC Routers, Spraying and Casting room, three Laser cutters, Powder Printer and an ABS Printer. Interestingly Hand tools are provided only on exchange of a students Driving Licence or Passport as deposit.

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Student Survey

All MSA students should have now received notification via email or Moodle that we are conducting a survey about our workshop facilities and services. Every response we get is valued and taken into consideration so please take the time to give us your opinions about what works and doesn’t with the B.15 Workshop.

The feedback from this survey will help us plan for future investments in equipment and our overall role within the school.

Many Thanks, Scott and Jim

B.15:45 Extended Interview with Eamonn Canniffe

As part of our B.15:45 Exhibition we put together a short film telling the story of how modelmaking is used in the life of an architecture student and beyond. The full versions of the interviews tell many more interesting stories of modelmaking with individual case studies and memories accounted first hand by staff past and present.

In this first extended interview with MSA Principal Lecturer Eamonn Canniffe we hear about how history models have been used as precedent examples and tools in understanding space as well as thoughts on the introduction of digital tools to the school over the past 30 years.

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