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The Allure – and Importance of Architectural Models

From a generator of ideas or a communication tool to a miniature utopia, the rich history of architectural models shows how they have developed and evolved with methods and technologies.

The largest ever scale model built in the Model Works Dublin Workshop


From Antoni Gaudi’s catenary arch design models to Norman Foster’s models exploring every stage of design to completion of a project, models continue to form a critical part of the work of all the great architects.

“The Making of ………..” The Norman Foster retrospective at Centre Pompidou in Paris is well worth a visit. An absolute delight in the art and craft of model making not to mention building design. Model Making together with drawings and artworks and objects called “Nature and Urbanity” and “Skin and Bones” “Skin and Bones”! What a great title to describe architectural model making!

Not preparing a model is a sure fire way to be denied planning permission


“Not preparing a model is a sure fire way to be denied planning permission”!!!

This is my favourite published quote! Build Magazine Jan 2020:

While this might be an exaggeration, in the forty year history of Model Works, models have played a key positive role in planning applications and oral hearings of the planning board. While our digital presentation services offer ultra realistic visualisations and virtual reality, a physical scale model quite literally has the extra dimension to inform, excite and seduce the viewer. You walk around it, touch it, feel the materiality.


Whether it’s the centrepiece of a marketing suite or in the agents’ sales office, a detailed sales and marketing model has been proven to push sales. They engage the viewer like nothing else. They create a sense of reality and commitment by the developer to the project.

Today, models are not stand alone sculptures but interactive experiences when combined with interactive and virtual reality technologies.

In future posts I will explore in more depth how the evolution of models has influenced our 40 year history and their future relevance.

Gavin Henderson of Stirling prize winning architects Stanton Williams speaks eloquently on model making:

“This is why we make models. Making by hand explores thoughts that are unpremeditated, pre-verbal, non linear. The idea evolves before the brain has had time to set boundaries, enforce preconceptions.”

The craft of making things whether drawings or models, is the essence of design ”

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