When in architecture school the act of model making is seen as a very important method of developing and communicating design proposals/ideas. Although Model making within the architecture field seems to be overshadowed by producing drawings it is important not to forget the great potential that this form of media has within the design process of architectural spaces.

Here are some useful tips to help you improve your model making ability and speed.


Architecture studio

Correct Materials For The Job

It is important to build up a collection of different card types so that you have access to a variety of card styles and thicknesses. Doing this will allow you to use the appropriate card material to fit the certain intension of the model.    

Models are a great way to test out 2D drawings in 3D tangible space. This will allow you to see the true proportions of the area and to see more clearly if an idea is working or more importantly not. Often referred to as ‘sketch models’ these are purely used to further the design stage and are intended to benefit the architect only, meaning that they need to be produced as quick as possible and often with minimal detail. Cheap, thin card is the best material for making these model types because it can be easily cut with a craft knife on a cutting mat. It will make sure that you do not run up large material costs, as there can be many sketch models produced throughout the design process. These models can added too, taken apart and draw on so there is little point in spending ages prodicng a clean cut materpeice.  

Final models which are used to sell your scheme/project to your tutors or clients should be constructed using better quality materials with as much detail added as possible. These models are often produced at a larger scale and require thicker card materials to increase stability which means it can be far more time consuming to cut out individual pieces. Different tones and styles of card can be used to represent and depict a change in materials of the design proposal if required. However i would suggest using no more than four different material types on any one model as too many colour tones on one peice can often distract from the overall quality of designed spaces.


Use the Correct Tools

Be sure to use metal rulers when cutting with a craft knife as plastic rulers will often become damaged and reduce the accuracy of the cut. Also purchase a cutting mat of a substantial size for cutting materials on top of, as this will minimise the chance of damaging your work surface. Always use a set square when measuring out material to be cut to ensure that all the model parts have parallel and perpendicular sides if intended.


Accuracy is key 

The key to producing good quality architecture models in accuracy. For final presentation models leave yourself enough time and take care when measuring and cutting pieces of material. Accuracy whilst doing this can be also be achieve by regularly changing your craft knife blade to ensure that it remains as sharp as possible and cuts through the material easily. In addition, having a sharp pencil for marking out dimensions is also another way to greatly improve the quailty of models.

Remember that it is usually not the choice of material that determines a high quality model but how neatly each piece has been cut out and assembled. 

For a final presentation model never apply glue directly from the tube to the material when assembling the model piece. It is far more difficult to judge the correct amount of glue and will often pour out quicker than expected leaving you with an excess of glue over your models. Be sure to squeeze small amounts of glue out of the tube onto a scrap piece of material and then use another smaller piece of material to apply glue to the intended piece. By doing this you will be able to judge how much glue you need so that no excess glue will dry and be left showing, leaving your model looking neat, tidy and professionally put together.

Remember that the glue bond only needs to withstand the weight of the material you are joining so it is surprising just how little glue is needed to put a model together.