1:500 Master Plan Model, Year 3 BA Architecture

This group project for 3rd year BA students will be used to display multiple concepts that will continue to develop throughout the year. For this reason considerable thought was put into getting the contouring and overall model size correct for purpose.

By figuring out high and low points on their site the group could then make a series of supporting ‘ribs’ at the relevant size for the 1:500 scale. Clearly marking each piece by number is crucial when there are many components. Once fixed in place the engraved ‘skin’ was fixed over the top creating the flow of contours across the site.

The next main phase of construction was to produce the existing site buildings. by taking plans printed at scale the group divided the site into different zones and gave each building a number to assure easy identification when assembling.

By referring to visual reference such as photographs it is possible to find an approximate building height by looking at courses of brickwork and door/window heights. At this scale approximations are fine for the models purpose but extra care should be taken when focussing on areas in the immediate vicinity of the areas being used for proposed development.

The group decided to add extra laser engraved facade details to the exiting buildings closes to their proposed site. This helps to highlight the concentration and detail in the surrounding buildings without over emphasising their physical construction.

As the group found out, adding too many detail lines can prove costly in terms of time on the laser cutter.

We encourage you to consult us about any of these fine details as more often than not they can be simplified and still easily convey the message.

Gothic Window Maquette, Luke Tyson

Luke’s Year 6 thesis focussed on a site at Green gate Square opposite Manchester Cathedral.

This laser cut development model to test a potential construction method for later models. In the end Luke decided against taking this idea further for this project but this sample turned out really well. Here Luke has layered up laser cut cartridge paper to mimic a stone sculpted Gothic style window. The results looked fantastic and go to show that with patience and experimentation when using machines can give a great range of results.

It’s always a good idea to experiment with these ideas at an early stage of your projects as they often lead to changes in your design and give great insight into success and failures of specific elements.

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Ancoats Community Development ‘Hybrid Scheme’, Sandra Schenavsky

3rd year Student Sandra Schenavsky decided to take a materialistic approach to her final submission model. The proposed site in Ancoats would feature a well rounded use of buildings to create a ‘Work, Life and Leisure’ balance for those who might use the space.

Sandra wanted to convey the different uses of each element of her design by representing them as near to her proposed material finish as possible. To do this the existing site and landscaping was represented in laser cut card contours. The main building itself was constructed using pigmented plaster casts to represent concrete sections, laser cut MDF to represent wooden cladding and laser cut acrylic to represent glass facades.

This was a great experimentation project which found a good balance of techniques. Casting plaster into MDF molds proved challenging but after several trials Sandra was able to come up with an effective way of casting the forms she wanted.


1:100 section model of a distribution/retail centre in Bradford, Sam Higgins

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To further convey the detail within the Site as shown in Sam’s 1:500 site model, this model takes a section of one of the buildings to focus on. By using a ‘cut through’ approach at 1:100 the viewer is able to better understand the complexity or layout of a building’s construction that is not put across in models of a smaller scale.

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Sam used a variety of materials and techniques to create this cross section but of most importance to note is that it was largely hand crafted and assembled. Whilst CAD based machines can greatly benefit the construction of elements of your models they are best used as additional tools for making rather than the sole producer of your models.

This model used laser cut parts to great effect such as the window frames and shelving units which, if done by hand would come at great cost in terms of your time. Time spent drawing accurate components for other flat elements of this model, is far better spent simply hand cutting them. This is also a lot cheaper! Use machines appropriately – ask a member of staff when deciding how to construct your model for their take on the best approach.

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New Precision Tools in the Workshop

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We have just had a delivery of precision tools to help in the accurate construction of your models. For anyone who has had trouble getting straight walls or accurate angles in the making or assembly of any of your models, you now have no excuse! 🙂

Please ask either myself or Jim for a short tutorial in the correct use of these tools which can work wonders towards accuracy in your work.

More than happy to help!


‘Trimo Urban Crash Bike Base’ Competition entry, Alexandr Valakh

This competition entry was completed in January 2013 by 5th year MA Architecture student Alexandr Valakh. Here is a brief project description taken from Arch Daily:

‘In digital imaging, a pixel, is a physical point in a raster image, or the smallest addressable element in a display device; so it is the smallest controllable element of a picture represented on the screen. The pixel is a multifunctional Cafe and Bike storage repair stop, designed on an orthogonal grid, with entirely adaptable elements including optional layouts and furniture arrangements. The Pixel like its name sake is in an adaptable social environment designed to to create a new and flexible social public space.

These spatial responses include differing strategies for Daytime, Nighttime as we all as
different strategies which can be implemented to respond to environmental/seasonal factors, site conditions as well as security requirements.’ -Alexandr Valakh

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Alexandr used laser cut ply wood to create this concept model showing how his proposed design would look in relation to its surroundings. He also used a minimum of contextual details such as people and a car to further convey its scale.

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In addition to the context model Alexandr produced a detail model of the units construction featuring laser cut bike silhouettes. The level of detail shown in this detail model would be inappropriate on the smaller context model.

‘Exchange Parade Theatre’ Context Model, Rachel Jenkins

Just completed design development model, this 1:500 context model aims to show how this proposed theatre design will sit within what is currently an urban car parking space. The model includes subterranean levels and roadways that make up the different site levels. At this stage the model can be disassembled to allow for possible design changes to be discussed with Rachel’s tutors.

ITV Coronation Street model

This 1:250 site model was made for Jenkins Design ahead of the proposals for the new Media City UK site at Salford Quays. The model was used to convey the proposed site details and their relationship to the existing roads and the Manchester Ship Canal.