We described a vast spectrum of models,investigating what they may be made from, explainingwhy they may be produced and discussing how theyprovide different modes of inquiry in architecture. Theuse of models as a medium and mechanism throughwhich the development of architectural knowledge anddesign innovation can be produced remains paramountto the discipline, and this appears very unlikely tochange. However, what is less certain is how such practicewill be transformed as a result of future developmentsand which aspects may evolve while others recede. Fromthe current situation it appears that the role of modelsas generative and representative tools in architecturewill continue to ﬂourish as the productive differencesbetween various media and techniques continue to grow.Perhaps the most exciting ﬁeld lies in the increasingoverlaps between digital and traditional design processesand techniques. Ruairi Glynn summarizes the recentdevelopments, ‘over the past decade, the practice ofarchitecture has radically transformed through thedigital acceleration and sharpening of production. Newarchitectural languages are being constructed through theconversation between material, tool and design intent.These advances represent an opportunity for architectsto relocate themselves within the design space of theconstruction industry, back at the heart of the process.
The emergence of new computational modellingsoftware that enables parametric systems and complexbiological organizations to be generated and exploredin design terms has begun to offer avenues for themodelmaker that had not previously existed. Suchdevelopment is characterized by the contemporaryposition offered by Bob Sheil: ‘Never before have therebeen so many, or such varied, techniques and methodsat our disposal, each with the capacity to leap only previously imagined frontiers. Designing has becomea liquid discipline pouring into domains that forcenturies have been the sole possession of others, suchas mathematicians, neurologists, geneticists, artists andmanufacturers. Post-digital designers more often designby manipulation than by determinism, and what isdesigned has become more curious, intuitive, speculativeand experimental These huge transformations indesign processes have implications far beyond thediscipline of architecture as more and more research anddevelopments are being conducted at cross-disciplinarylevels around the globe. The surge of interest in this ﬁeldis perhaps typiﬁed by major exhibitions exploring thedesign possibilities opened up by important advances intechnology.
To conclude, the signiﬁcanceof the model as a medium for the advancement ofarchitectural knowledge and as a dynamic tool that cancatalyze and renegotiate relationships between concepts,techniques and different modes of inquiry cannot beunderstated. It should also be reiterated that the needfor architects to engage with the tangible and physicalaspects of their practice becomes ever pressing as theplethora of digital technologies grows. The resurgencein making is explained by Richard Sennett in his book,The Craftsman, where he suggests that ‘all skills, eventhe most abstract, begin as bodily practices; second, thattechnical understanding develops through the powersof imagination,’ (Sennett, R., The Craftsman, London:Allen Lane, 2008, p.10) With the echoes of this in ourminds, the design opportunities offered by architecturalmodelmaking await our further exploration.