Detailed models are not only used in the ﬁeld of interiordesign, but also as structural or technical models knownas ‘details’. In principle, these models can be made toa scale of up to 1:1, in which case it would probably bemore accurate to call them ‘protoypes’. In the modernistperiod, models were used as a primary method forexploring and communicating prefabrication andmodular building techniques. Indeed, at the Internationale Architektur
exhibition held at the Bauhaus in Weimarin 1923, Walter Gropius referred to models of housemodules in the accompanying catalogue as, ‘full-scaleconstruction kits.’ Thirty years ago, it was not uncommonfor architecture practices to invest in full-scale mock-ups of building components, interiors and even entireﬂoors of high-rise projects in order to investigate thedesign implications involved. This is obviously a costlyprocess and, although it does still occur, the use of CAD has enabled a signiﬁcant amount of a design’s potentialcharacteristics and behaviour over time to be predictedand evaluated electronically. However, this type of modelis particularly useful for the designer who may havedifﬁculty understanding how elements combine in threedimensions. Full-sized models are often limited by theirscale, and as such it is typical to use them as a vehicleto explore detailed components more rigorously ratherthan to attempt to make a replica of a signiﬁcant portionof the design proposal. This is not necessarily a practicalexercise when time and space are limited, but the beneﬁtscan be signiﬁcant. In the last decade or so, a resurgenceof design through production has evolved as prototypeshave been facilitated by the widespread growth of digitalfabrication processes in architecture schools and, albeitless exponentially, in practice.
Material appearance can frequently be deceptive whenshown on drawings, and even the most sophisticatedtextured and coloured computer renderings do notcompensate for the loss of tactile information. As aresult, architects may use models to explore the potentialmateriality of building surfaces and components priorto their application within a design. This is particularlyimportant in situations in which the materials mayhave an unknown visual impact – or, indeed otherunforeseen properties.