Physical Models, Still Where Its At

Over the last few years there has been a revolution in the architect’s toolkit. From powerful BIM and illustration software, to 3D printing and even the use of Robots in fabrication, technology has provided a host of new options to help explore design. With the plethora of new technology options, physical architectural models could become a lost form of communicating spatial concept and design ideas. However, here at RODE Architects we still consider the craft of building physical models as a critical piece of the design process.

Modelling allows for further experimentation in terms of form and also acts as an indispensable communicative devise that provides a deeper understanding of the project. RODE uses models throughout all of its design stages. For example, during the beginning schematic phases of our project in Boynton Yards, we developed a quick series of massing models as a tool to develop and establish the general shape and form as well as size of the building.

Once we enter the latter stages of a project, We will often use a physical model to answer specific design questions and inform architectural elements like program adjacencies, pedestrian/vehicular circulation and the façade’s interaction with its context. For our Dot Block project, we continuously created physical models in order to conceive a strong pedestrian focused scheme, ultimately resulting in a network of walkable zones and bridges.

Technology keeps bringing us new avenues and allows for efficiencies and innovation, but throughout the evolution of architecture, the one thing that has stayed the same is the traditional use of the physical model, and we are big believers in the value they add to our work from start to finish. Models give the architect and the client ability to pick up and view the project up close in a way that would otherwise not be possible – and they represent an evolving design process that is continuously being modified to best serve its community and end user.

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