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

Mecanoo B.15 Modelmaking Awards 2017 Shortlist

In partnership with Mecanoo we are please to announce this years awards shortlist! This years work has been incredibly difficult to reduce down for this list and we at B.15 and Mecanoo want everyone to know how great the work has been. Well done all!

Final Judging will take place tomorrow (9/6/17) afternoon with the award winners being announced from 18.00 at the Exhibition opening. Good luck everyone!

The complete document can be downloaded here:

Announcing ‘Mecanoo B.15 Modelmaking Awards 2017’!

We are pleased to announce for the third year running, the Mecanoo B.15 Modelmaking awards!

This years’ awards are given for both practical outputs and personal intention that demonstrates a good understanding of why and how to use modelmaking effectively in design.
Judging will focus on each students’ overall approach to modelmaking in their design work and will be critical of its application within the context of the brief, chosen scales, materials and overall finished quality.


Short-listing will occur in the weeks leading up to the MSA show opening  where final judging and awards will be presented by Mecanoo on June 9th. Anybody interested in being considered please make yourself known to us during your time at the workshop. 
Students from 3rd year BA (Hons) Architecture and in a change from previous years MArch years 1 + 2 are both eligible to make the short-list for one of six awards.

******* Open-house launch event Tuesday 14th February *******

*******Exclusive to MSA students*******

***This Event is Now Fully Booked***

To officially launch this years awards and allow students to find out more about the practice, Mecanoo will be hosting an open-house event at their Manchester Princess Street office taking place on Tuesday 14th February 17.30 – 19.30. MSA students are invited to drop in for a short introduction to Mecanoo from Architect Patrick Arends and Modelmaker Laurens Kistemaker. A good opportunity to network and find out more about this years award scheme from the people who judge it.

princess street office

‘Ask the Modelmaker’ Student Drop-In day Wednesday 15th February

Mecanoos in-house modelmaker Laurens Kistemaker will be coming to the workshop to see ongoing projects and offer advice to anyone. He will be around all day and happy to consult with you on your ongoing or upcoming work.


We look forward to seeing some great work from everyone in the coming months.
Find out more about Mecanoo on their website:

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

“People, Place, Purpose” Mecanoo Architects Open Lecture at MSA

People Place Purpose open lecture Francesco and Laurens

“People, Place, Purpose” An open lecture from Mecanoo Architects
at the Manchester School of Architecture on Thursday 14th April 2016

Francesco Veenstra, Partner & Architect, Head of the Mecanoo Manchester Office
Laurens Kistemaker, Modelmaker at the Mecanoo Delft Office


Held in conjunction with the Mecanoo B.15 Modelmaking award we invite you to join us for a presentation of the past a present projects of international award winning architects Mecanoo. Francesco Veenstra will take us through the history and design ethics of Mecanoo culminating with the current MECD project for the University of Manchester. Laurens Kistemaker will explain how ideas are developed at their Delft modelmaking workshop from concept to presentation.

This lecture is FREE and open to all
Thursday 14th April at 17.00 in the Cordingley Lecture Theatre,
Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, University of Manchester, M139PL

Hope you can join us!

Scott and Jim

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

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.

Mecanoo Office and Workshop (30)

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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.


Scott and Jim

Visit to Mecanoo Architects and the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture

Mecanoo Office and Workshop (3)

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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TU Delft (21)








TU Delft (50)

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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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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 Awards 2015 Shortlist


The last month has been somewhat chaotic here in B.15 as the deadlines and come and gone we are still working towards one final date. This Friday our annual end of year student show will be accompanied by an all new award for modelmaking as we previously announced.

The short-listing for this award has now been completed and can be viewed along with descriptions of the projects by clicking here.

The award will be judged in person by ourselves, Mecanoo, Dr Ray Lucas and Head of MSA Tom Jefferies this Friday ahead of the opening and presentations at 17.30.

Good luck to all nominees!

Scott and Jim