U.S.E. Dortmund 1:1250 Masterplan Model

The focus of this year’s U.S.E. atelier is the city of Dortmund, Germany. I was fortunate to be able to take part in the study trip that saw the group, both 5th and 6th years, exploring and documenting the proposed site along with several post industrial sites. It was agreed early on in the trip that a masterplan model should be created for group discussions throughout the year and as a center piece for the end of year show taking place next June.

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“After returning from Dortmund, U.S.E. split into site analysis teams. alongside research groups, whose work was collated into a large compendium document, we were tasked with the fabrication of a physical masterplan model of the Union Quarter. 

A scale of 1:1250 was chosen due to material constraints, fitting the width of a 2440x1220mm MDF sheet. For an appropriate portrayal of information at this scale, we largely focused on the massing and blocking whilst acknowledging the railway lines, running at a lower level to the rest of the site and splitting the Union Quarter into three parcels. Other than this drastic level change, we chose to ignore other topographical features of the area; whilst the site features a gradual incline towards the westpark, this would be largely negligible at 1:1250 and would have added considerable time and effort to the construction process.

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To demarcate the site boundary, we chose to raise the union quarter on a plinth above the main model base. To economise on time, we also chose only to build massing on this plinth; outside the site boundary, roads and buildings are indicated by engravings on a plasma cut mild steel sheet. This was left outside over a weekend to rust, acting as a material metaphor for Dortmund’s steel heritage, which is highly prominent on site.

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The raised Union Quarter plinths are produced from 12mm clear acrylic recycled from display cabinets at the Manchester Museum. laser cut polystyrene sheeting was plastic welded on top, forming pavements and streets, before being spray painted white. the plinths were originally constructed from cnc’d MDF, though these were scrapped as we were not satisfied with the finish or the joining with the polystyrene sheets, which did not stick well to the timber.

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DSC05061For the massing, we were advised by workshop staff to use chemi-wood, a resin-based material known for its ease of cutting and crisp finish. buildings were hand cut; whilst being a lengthy process, we were able to add a greater level of complexity to blocking than would normally be possible with the laser cutter, such as pitched roofs.

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Blocks were then spray painted with shades of white and grey to identify their general usage, broken down into residential, public, commercial and industrial. though nearly finished to a presentation-quality standard, in future we are looking to add trees to the model as the union quarter is a particularly green urban area.”

– Daniel Kempski & Peter Lee December 2015

The main base feature of this model was the engraved 2mm thick steel sheet. On it’s arrival the steel had a light coating of oil to prevent rust which, unusually when it comes to the use of metal, was exactly the finish the group didn’t want!

DSC05104There were several discussions about how to best subtly age the steel which were all trial and error with regard to retaining the engraved detail. It was decided to clean the oil from the face of the steel and leave it outside over the weekend having been lightly sprayed with Epsom salts.

image1At best we thought it may have started to surface rust by Monday morning. To our surprise and temporary horror the rust had completely coated the sheet in the heavy rain that had ensued. Thankfully the group were able to rub back the rust with fine grade sandpaper and the effect turned out to be better than was hoped for.

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3The buildings were fixed to the floor plates and the arranged in position on the steel base. Only trees remain to emphasis the green spaces across the site but have been left off for now until the final assembly closer to the end of the year. – Scott

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Masterplan Site Modelling

One of the most common projects students are asked to produce is a master plan model of a chosen site of study. These projects are predominantly but not exclusively set as group projects.

The model will include the extent of the chosen site and a variable amount of content depending on its purpose. Examples of purpose are:
  • Complete massing of each structure within the site
  • Selected features of a specific set of structures perhaps defined by purpose. 
  • Complete or partial topographic representation.
 
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Site Model Edit A
Coventry Master Plan (18)
Why do we make masterplan models?
 
Masterplans comprise a complete set of data on a site. The depth and scope of the data can vary from complete to selected types dependent on their purpose. In drawing form this data is often used as the ‘benchmark’ for subcontracted planning and eventual building of projects.
 
As a model the viewer is given a third dimension to the arrangement of a site. Building forms, types and positioning can be viewed from an instantaneous and variable perspective chosen by the viewers. For this reason the master plan is chosen as the centre piece of many projects and when used to full advantage can be modified by design as projects develop. This in turn provides a constant point of context reference in group discussions and individual presentations about the site.
 
Medical School (4)
city master plans (13)
Tips for Masterplan Modelling
 
APPROPRIATE SCALE. As with all Modelmaking tasks the first major consideration should be the required scale for your model. This may be defined by your brief but can also be left to your discretion. Ensuring the scale is appropriate for your project is critical for both the time concerned and potential expense of the model so take time to think about what needs to be shown. Consider existing map scales you have access to such as 1:1000 or 1:1250.
 
CONSTRUCTION METHOD. A common solution for the representation of contouring is with material that is layered up using survey topography lines. Deciding on an appropriate method for such elements is a key consideration. A previous article covers the ‘stepping’ method when using thick or large amounts of material and can save on cost and waste. Please take the time to read the post here.
 
STANDARD LEVEL OF DETAIL. Group projects need to consider this point especially in order to identify a standard to be attained by all participating members.
One of the main reasons master plan models can come across as messy or rushed is due to an inconsistent level of detail. The rule for detail is circumstantial and really up to the maker but production time for fine details should always be considered alongside what is required to make the model an effective tool. Consistency makes for the best presentation.
 DIVISION OF LABOUR. On projects consisting of tens to hundreds of individual building representations it is crucial to split the site into areas so that sub groups or individuals can work on specified sections.  This helps to work through the project systematically, with time efficiency and avoids any unnecessary duplicates being made by other group members.
 
Continuity Site Context model (16)We hope these pointers help to get you started with your projects but as always feel free to come and consult with us in person if you are unsure.
Scott

 

Runcorn Reprogrammed Master Plan, Constantinos Papaioannou

Year 6 Re_Map Student Constantinos Papaioannou has just completed this master plan of his study area looking at Runcorn. The model will be used as an overview of the entire site with more specific site study models to follow.

The model used a minimal amount of Laser engraved and cut MDF combined with site focus areas represented with red coloured acrylic and frosted clear acrylic.

Constantinos produced the model in just a day and a half. We look forward to seeing the next stage of the project!

Manchester City Master Plan Model, Architecture of the Processional City, Atelier VI

Back at the start of December we covered one groups start on their master plan block model of part of Manchester City Centre during the still ongoing spate of block models being made in the workshop. The project was part of ‘Architecture of the Professional City’, Atelier VI at Manchester School of Architecture. You can find out more about their studies on their Blog by clicking here.

City Master Plan Models

Making continues this week in the workshop with most students focussed on creating city master plan models.It can be helpful when making master plans to lay out scaled plans to place components in place and ensure everything has been cut. If you want accuracy it is essential to have well scaled plans printed to understand the size of your project on a bench in front of you.
When dealing with master plan models more often than not you will find an abundance of components littering your desk space. The best was to keep track of these to is to order them and separate them into districts. This may suit a group project as individuals can be given responsibility over separate areas of the model. This group used plastic bags to distribute components as they were cut to avoid mixing them up.

Here Jim is using the band saw table on an angle to create roof pitches on a block model. It is likely that when producing block models there will come a point when a machines limits will not be sufficient to get the angle you require.

Overcoming these aspects of modelmaking can be time consuming but is of course necessary to ensure consistent accuracy of your models. Should you feel you’re unsure about how to achieve a particular angle don’t hesitate to ask our advice.

 

Campo San Martino, Venice Site 1:200 Master Plan Model

This year 6 Group project uses Jelutong block to create the busy built up area of Venice, Italy where the focus site of their brief is located. Once complete individual site study models will be placed in context to demonstrate their relationship to the existing constructions and canals in the area.

Dividing up time consuming tasks like mass producing bespoke block model shapes can be sped up by involving all team members as long as everyone has a clear understanding of what is trying to be achieved overall.

Jelutong Blocks Back in Stock for Masterplan Modelling

After the recent onslaught of master plan models our stockroom was left somewhat depleted! Master plan models more often than not will require large pieces of wood to create multi-storey buildings in block form.

Whilst using laminated MDF sheets may seem like a cheaper option it is worth considering the huge amount of waste and resulting impact to the environment as a whole and the immediate surroundings. Cutting masses of MDF sheeting produces a lot of dust that when inhaled excessively can be very bad for your health (Wear Dust Masks!).

Laminating sheets together can also be time consuming and the finished aesthetics are less desirable. Jelutong block may seem expensive (Prices ranging between £15 to £40 per block) but the time saved in laminating and finishing may be comparable as the majority of master plans produced here can be achieved using a single £15 block when used economically.

Be sure to check with us about costings and the best approach for your model before rushing into anything. We use these materials almost everyday and can offer sound advice that will help you make the best of your projects in the most cost effective way.

Jim and Scott

3D Powder Printed Venice Master Plan Site model, Lauren Green and Becky Prince

Laura Green and Becky Prince Y6 (4)Lauren and Becky decided to create their site master plan using 3D powder printed components on a laser cut plywood base. The completed model looks great and shows in detail all the shapes that make up the exiting structures their chosen site.

Laura Green and Becky Prince Y6 (2)For those eager to try 3D printing it may be worth noting that this is a fairly unorthodox approach to making a site model due to the cost implications. This batch of printing came to a total cost of £116. When combined with other material and machine use time the total cost of the model came to around £150. This is minimal compared to commercial model costs but cheaper approaches can be carried out if cost is a concern.Laura Green and Becky Prince YR6 (1)Despite these cost implications, the outcome is very successful and clearly conveys the level of detail sought for the project. The use of timber against black acrylic to represent waterways is a style often used by David Chipperfield Architects Models.

Completed [Re_Map] 4599/’Beyond Conflict’ 1:1000 Coventry model

Here we can see the complete [Re_Map] 4599/’Beyond Conflict’ 1:1000 Coventry model being displayed with projected graphics and under lighting.

[Re_Map] 4599/’Beyond Conflict’ 1:1000 Coventry model

This year 6 project has focussed on the city of Coventry with a view to looking at the functionality of the city post WW2. Given the scale of the area being studied the group chose to produce their master plan at scale 1:1000. Building heights we created by layering up cut components to an approximate height based on the number of floors at the scale. The group had two other methods of conveying their site.. Firstly a projector would be mounted above the model projecting mapping over the model to convey various changes. This required quite a lot of thought and as the group realised, time should always be made for overcoming scaling issues when using projected images.

Coventry Master Plan (12)Secondly, buildings the group has focussed on across the city were made as separate acrylic blocks assembled in the same manner as the laser cut ply components. There buildings would allow light from the plinth base below to be case upward mapping specific roles of each site.Plinth construction should always be kept as simple as possible without compromising the strength of the construction. It is important for the sake of material waste and money that any plinths are designed well and used only when necessary. The plinth-base construction was chosen to allow the group to store several map types which can be slotted in place to cast a variety of chosen scenarios across the buildings. This meant the proposals for the site could be demonstrated in variants and allows further proposals to be demonstrated at a later date.