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.
We were recently visited by the two Modelmakers from a company called Maquettica based in Riga, Latvia. Janis Strazdins, CEO andÂ Lelde StrazdiÅ†a senior Modelmaker at the company have recently travelled across the UK researching the commercial role of Architectural Modelmaking. As part of their trip they stopped by to view our exhibition and we gave them a tour of our facility.
As we are always interested to understand how others work in the field of modelmaking we asked them to tell us their story.
As modelmakers we came intuitively.Janis made his first architectural model already at the age of 14, it was his parents house at country side and he did it just for fun.
Â We both have an architectural education, but in Latvia there are no special programs or
studies for architectural modelmaking. At the university here the architectural models are just a need which you add to your project.Â We spent much more time than other students on model making because we enjoyed the process a lot and gradually we started to be more and more interested in this speciality.
Logically we got our first orders, sometimes from other students, and very quickly our activity turned professional.Â Since then we still grow and develop our studio by digging and searching for the most appropriate materials, tools and equipment which allows us to work creatively, accurately and in high quality.
Our main occupation is realistic architectural models for marketing and presentation purposes and product prototype making, but unfortunately in our country the market is too small to survive only as modelmaking studio so we have added some more products and services that we are able to make with the equipment that we have for modelmaking.
We separated those other products from architectural models and put them all to ‘Ouzel‘, a branch off company.
Ouzel is our idea visualization studio which provides design objects, museum exposition and unique interior elements, such as decorations, furniture elements, lighting objects, etc.
Generally our clients are real estate developers, architects, also architecture students and individuals.In some cases museums, specific companies (for example factories or adventure parks).
Architects usually need the models for presentation, usually when they participate in competitions. Real estate developers use very realistic scale models as a marketing instrument. They are made very precisely from technical drawings.Adventure parks, they also need realistic models, but the main purpose is to make them attractive.To receive all necessary information for model making we have created on-line inquiry form on our website, but mainly for a proposal it is enough to have territory plan, building plan, facades and some visualizations.
The B.15:45 exhibition we visited is one step closer to explaining to society why modelmaking is worth the effort and also what it takes (a lot of time, patience, enthusiasm, spatial and constructive perception, knowledges, materials, equipment, ..) to make an architectural model that works.
Your workshop is Latvian architecture students dream to have at University. The variety of materials, tools, equipment and possibility to ask enthusiastic professors for advice â€“ these opportunities allow a student to work at their project more creatively, confidentlyand whilst having more fun. A studentâ€™s activity in the workshop lets them feel the physical interaction – materials, shapes, light, .. which is impossible to get from a computer.
You can find out more about Maquettica on their website here.Â http://www.maquettica.eu/
Last night was the opening of the Sci-Eng50 Exhibition at the Manchester School of art’s Holden Gallery. The exhibition looks at the last 50 years of development around the John Dalton Campus and features a series of great presentation models spanning the period. Displayed alongside the models are a fascinating selection of period photographs, plans and retro items from the Science and Engineering educational environment.
Over the last few months we have been restoring these models in preparation for the exhibition, part curated by MSA’s Richard Brook. The exhibition will run for the next month and is free to visit so well worth a look! For more information about this project you can visit the Sci-Eng50 Blog by clicking here.
Scott and Jim
Recently the Manchester School of Art’s Benzie Building has been nominated for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2014. The buildling serves as the new main entranceway to Manchester School of art and of course the Architecture studios.
With some interesting coverage and video of the building, this linkÂ from the BBC is of particular interest to the subject.
Part way down the page you will find a video interview with Keith Bradley and Tom Jarman of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios who designed the building. They use two models of the site and building to explain their design. Using models to explain design in this way can be really useful to convey your ideas to a group or individual as is clearly seen in the BBC video.
Scott and Jim
This project was completed in the final weeks of the last academic year by 6th year MA Student Abhi Chauhan. The project is the follow on to the 1:100 section we featured several months back. What is particularly appropriate about the styling of this project is the subject matter or the site. Being a 3D Printing Manufacturing facility of the future means no better method of production that the technology in question. This is definitely something to consider when devoting yourself to a major project like this – for example, if you are building an eco-concious design then that ethic should carry through to your presentation and thus model construction. This project sticks to its purpose through and through.
Abhi has been since graduated and started a full time position at Grimshaws in London. We wish him all the best in his future career!
This piece will be on display as part of our B.15:45 Exhibition so be sure to have a look in person.
Abhi has kindly written us this extensive account of the theory and construction methods he used in this stunning final piece. Enjoy!
This model is a final exhibition 1:50 sectional model. The slice is located through a key component of the building scheme titled ‘The Machines Of A Third Industrial Revolution’ The model slice – in detail depicts the processes of 3d printing of 1:1 architectural components, to be tested on a stalled concrete frame bounding the site. The design of the facility is such that it sits into a trench in the ground and features a folded roof structure which integrates a 3d printed park at ground level with the industrial processes of the facility within. The scale of the facility has been designed to be oversized, to deal with the variety of large scales that are needed in the manufacture of components for the construction industry.
The model builds upon the 1:100 sectional model completed earlier this year, and takes on a similar aesthetic to that of a cross section through a large industrial machine hanging of the walls of the facility.
The model has been constructed with a variety of different techniques.
The base has been CNC cut from x15 18mm mdf sheets layered and glued together. This method, although not the most cost effective meant that each layer of the base could be designed to incorporate slots and grooves within for housing of the various components that would eventually complete the model.
The red structural parts forming the portal steel frame structure hung within the trench were all constructed in 3ds max and then 3d printed on the ABS printer. These parts were then spray-painted to get the final red finish seen. Other components that were printed, include some of the facade components, and the series of storage tanks and pipes to the right of the trench. This method of manufacture was chosen sue to the time constraints, the subject matter of the project, and the complex shape of some of the parts.
The roof was also 3d printed and a shelling script in grasshopper gave the folded structure a thickness to make watertight for 3d printing. This part was the most challenging to construct and after a variety of failed tests the part was printed at Hobs due to their larger printer beds (up to 1500mm wide) which allowed for the part to be printed as one component. Finishing the roof are a series of card panels (depicting a metal skin) which were laser cut and engraved. These were bonded to the 3d printed structural roof frame using spray mount.
The material archives (in white) set into the base of the model were the last parts to be 3d printed on the model, and were done on the powder 3d printers. These constructs were notoriously fragile and once installed in the base had their edges and portions of their rebuilt in white pollyfilla.
The remaining components making up the model have been formed from either 2 or 3mm clear acyclic. For example the 3d printers on the -2 level have been laser cut form a mixture of 2 and 3mm acrylic and then assembled to snap fit and slot together to avoid gluing. This clear aesthetic was chosen for a variety of the model parts as can be seen.
The landscaped elements including the cranes and gantry and the main internal staircase were all laser cut from 2mm mdf. These part were all spray painted to the final grey and black finish shown.
The facade skin (resembling an ETFE system) was vacuum formed over a 3d printed mould. The mould was designed with groves in it and as such were expressed in the final plastic shells.
Before any parts were manufactured every part was modelled in 3d and then assembled to create a master digital model. (see image) Due to the large amount of parts on this model this was necessary to eliminate any unforeseen mistakes which would be harder to rectify once parts had already been cut.
Each part of the model was treated as a mini project i.e. the main facade, the main stair case, the 3d printers on the ground floor, etc. Once these were all assembled and sprayed the whole model was put together like a giant jigsaw. Due to the fact that almost every part was digitally fabricated there were few tolerance errors during final assembly.
The model took approximately 3 weeks to translate from an actual section into model drawings and then 3 weeks to get all the parts cut and painted and a final week to assemble together.
As part of the final major project for his 3rd year submission James decided to produce his completed concept for the former Odeon cinema site on Oxford Street in Manchester at 1:200 scale.
Due to the fragile nature of the powder printing material when used in thin volumes there were several breakages to smaller elements of the model. These were repaired using a mix of styrene strips and filler. Once repaired the whole model was reinforced by soaking it in superglue and finished with a coat of white paint. It is always worth remembering that the smaller details of designs are a potential break risk for 3D powder printing. If possible try not to produce components smaller that 2mm in size and thickness. You should always consider the removal process and how this will be successfully carried out given your design. See more of James’ work by clicking here.
Back in March we looked at Alex’s 1:100 model exploring the assembly of his proposed site. Alex completed his model series by producing a 3D printed site model and finally a cross section model showing the relationship between the individual units and the optional outer skin facade.
After several days in the chemical bath to remove support material Alex placed his 3D printed model in a purpose made display case to protect it from intrigued hands! It’s always worth noting that forms such as this require a lot of support material when made on the ABS plastic printer which often means extended periods of time post-printing in the chemical bath.
The outer skin of the model was made using paper components that were CAD designed and laser cut before being hand assembled. The completed skin was fixed onto the plywood frame carefully using superglue.
Mass produced standardised components were designed to be quickly assembled to create the form much like the full scale proposal offers.Â Alex has produced some fantastic models here over the last two years and we encourage everyone to look at this level of work for inspiration. All the best for the future Alex!
Intimate Cities student Laura Minca has designed an ever changing settlement within the city centre. The site, on the corner of Whitworth Street and Princess Street in Manchester has been a site of a stalled project for some years now. Laura’s concept would allow the site to continue to expand and develop as required with a construction crane remaining on site to build as the site needs evolve.
Laura gives us a description of her project below:
The project aims to initially investigate the city of Manchester under a temporal lens, focusing on the spaces â€˜in-betweenâ€˜ worlds, â€˜in-betweenâ€™ stages of development that resulted following the economic downturn. At the heart of the cityâ€™s commercial and conservation area lies Origin – unfinished, incomplete, abandoned, hiding behind faded slogans of glamour and projected fantasies of luxury living and work opportunities.
The research and output developed as part of the [Intimate Cities] Atelier will be focused on the current condition of the Roma groups that have targeted the United Kingdom ever since Romaniaâ€™s entrance in the European Union in 2007. Although their â€˜nomadicâ€™ condition is debatable and its deriving taxonomy should be reassessed, the Roma groups provide a fascinating case study in terms of a traveling communityâ€™s continuous struggle to adapt within fluctuating social, political and economic climates.Â
The temporal context of the project is set starting with January 2014 when the transitional controls on free movement adopted by the UK will end. Following the lift of the travel restrictions and free access to the UK labor market, a high influx of Romani groups are expected to arrive and settle within British and implicitly, Mancunian territory.
Drawing on dichotomies of spatial purity and impurity, on notions of boundary, transience and spatial justice, the scheme proposes a temporary, modular structure that plugs into the existing site infrastructure – a contemporary Roma camp, aimed to provide the incoming community with a set of architectural and spatial principles that develops incrementally.
The focus on temporary, adaptable, shared spaces challenges the sedentary predisposition specific to Western architecture and its affinity towards grand, enduring structures. The approach is driven by the idea that architecture functions as an ideology in built form, that homes are more than just fixed dwellings, more than just sheltering devices: they are tools that enable the communities that use architecture to carve their identities and redefine visions of themselves and their collective subconscious.
This is not a scheme about pristine, perfectly aligned spaces and sleek technologies, but an exploration of imperfection, of the random and the improvised. A breathing, ever-changing structure that echoes the unconventional ways of the Romani people and their ability to adapt in any given environment. (Laura Minca 2014)
Concept renders of how the site would look.
The scaffold construction that makes up the bulk of the design was represented by engraving the framework on acrylic sheeting and rubbing in acrylic paint to the define the details. This effect is much more efficient that attempting to construct each scaffold piece or laser cutting the frame at this scale.
Laura used wood stain to define the site from the surrounding area. this was achieved by masking the edges and applying more coats of stain to darken her site footprint.
To create the tent like canopy above each area of the site Laura used a vac-formed sheet to create the draped fabric aesthetic desired. This was achieved by creating a former using Ureol Modelboard which was sanded to the correct shape then placed on a base to sit on the bed of the vac former. The vac forming process involved heating up styrene vac-forming plastic which is then suction formed around any given shape.
Further detail was added to the internal floor spaces using laser cut cardboard fixed to plywood floor plates. This plates were then assembled and slotted into place into the main framework before having the roof canopies fitted above.
Laura used brass etched scaled figures to convey the use of the spaces with figures dotted around the site and near the context. Small pine cones were used to represent trees which always works well with wooden based models. These can be found on various trees and bushes around campus!Â
Once all scale elements were added and surround massing models were made using Jelutong block, the model was moved into the studio for photographing.
This site looks at a stalled site on Deansgate Locks. 6th Year MAarch student Aayu was asked to regenerate the development and look at potential future uses of the space. He decided to introduce small business’s to the site which would over time, expand and bring further investment to the area. The building form allows for expansion of the development by leaving the top of the building open for additional floors, formed around the core, to be added at a later time.
As with Aayus other projects, he preferred to convey his design by making a highly detailed model, predominantly by hand, to emphasise the craftsmanship of the individual spaces in the development. Aayu much preferred this method over digital renders which he believed to be more corporate.
The design is made of lightweight materials to allow for quick construction of additional areas. This idea was carried over into the design of his model with the main materials being paper, card, timber and fabrics. The majority of the 1:100 scale model was designed and built by Aayu at home. Another benefit of using simple lightweight materials is the ability to make parts without the need for machines and specialist facilities.Â
Scale figures were added along with items of furniture that indicate the potential use of a space. These items help to avoid repetition across the model and really bring out the intended mixed use concept.Â Once scale detail had been added the model was photographed in our studio and is now ready for the end of year show.
Last week, my self and Jim took some annual leave to go on a modelmaking road trip! We visited two main locations and so Iâ€™ll split this summary up into two posts. Firstly, this post will cover our visit to a graduate friend of mineâ€™s place of work in Bath.
Timothy Richards has become the world leader in the production of fine plaster cast architectural models for exhibition display and private commission.
Over the past few months there have been several student projects attempting to delve into the plaster casting medium to convey their ideas.Whilst we have some experience of this process we thought it would be useful to ourselves and to upcoming students to give an insight into this process commercially and how better than to visit this master of the art!
A friend of mine, Lauren Milton, with whom I graduated in Modelmaking is now working for Tim and was able to give us an extensive private tour and insight into the workings of the company. Tim’s models range from complete buildings to facade’s and architectural details. Many of these models are made to order as private commissions however there is a range of popular works which are kept in stock for purchase.
The method used to produce the models has been refined over time but essentially involves creating a ‘master’ form of the subject to take a mould from then casting in the appropriate coloured plaster which can be pigmented to suit. One of Tim’s core beliefs about model building is that a model should be as similar in materiality as the building it represents. This means that all of the works produced here are cast in their final colour and therefore no paint is used on the cast surfaces. The only areas where colour may be applied is again through a ‘raw finish’ material such as thin sheet metal used to emboss over certain areas much as they would be in reality on roofing details etc.
Once cast, the building or facade components are assembled and any additional details such as window frames and railing are added. These details are primarily made from etched brass – a process we will cover in another post but in the mean time please ask myself or Jim for more information.Â The resulting components can be made extremely fine and add a great deal of realism to these models.
Finely sculpted elements are made by sculptors who are paid to create exact replicas of organic details on the buildings. Once complete the scaled down sculpts are cast in white metals and then added to the master models before being cast into the final model.
Tim keeps everything for future reference meaning an extensive store of past model masters and moulds. This area in particular is fascinating and shows the breadth of experience compiled through sheer number of past projects in store. This visit was truly fascinating and insightful. It may be possible for us to arrange a lecture and demonstration from Tim this coming academic year. Should this happen I can’t recommend it enough!
For more on Tim’s work click here: http://www.timothyrichards.com/
Outside of our workshop visit we spent some time looking around Bath looking at some of its fantastic architecture and the historic Roman Bath house. All in all a great place to visit should you get the chance!