There are a number of key words relating to the practice ofarchitectural modelmaking that are typically understood byeveryone but may be interpreted differently, giving rise toambiguity if not misunderstanding. In the interest of clarity, itis valuable to provide a definition of the more significant wordsand phrases used in this book. Perhaps most importantly, it isworth starting with a term that can result in much confusiondepending on how it is used: model.


There are multiple entries under the dictionary definitionof a model although ‘a representation, generally in miniature,to show the construction or appearance of something’ mayseem the most appropriate in this context. However, eventhis definition is rather limiting as it does not emphasize thedynamic role the model has. For the purpose of this bookit is important to consider a model as both the mediumand mechanism through which design ideas are generatedand represented.
 Computer-Aided Design (or Drafting) software is usedby architects and students to develop and communicate theirdesign ideas. Different software packages can produce differentresults: some only produce two-dimensional drawings whileothers are capable of sophisticated three-dimensional rendersor animations.
 This term is a shortening of Computer-AidedDesign (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM).CAD/CAM software uses the information from CAD drawingtools to describe geometries used in the CAM portion of theprogramme to define a toolpath that will direct the motion ofa machine tool to machine the exact shape that was drawn.
 is an acronym for Computer Numerically Controlledequipment, which is programmed and controlled by computer.The advantages are that once the CAD data has been drawn,this type of machine can offer very short set-up times andthe flexibility to run batches ranging from one-offs to largenumbers of repetitive components.
 is an idea of something formed by mentallycombining its features as a construct. A concept is often thedriving force behind an architectural design because it initiatesthe design process and threads through its development.
 refers to the capacity of a model to be able to createor produce design ideas rather than simply represent them.
 is a technique that combines one image ofa design proposal with another. Carefully taken photographsof physical models can produce even more impressiveresults when merged with contextual information in digitalphotographs or images.
 is an original type, form, or instance of somethingthat serves as a typical example, basis, or standard for furtherdevelopment. In architecture, the experimental nature of thediscipline often requires the need for prototyping to enable thedesigner to explore, test and evaluate potential solutions.
Rapid prototyping
 is an automatic process of making physicalmodels using additive manufacturing technology by taking thedata from CAD files and converting it into successive layers ofliquid, powder, or sheet material, to build up a model from aseries of cross sections. These layers are then bonded togetherto produce the final form. The key advantage of this techniqueis its ability to create almost any form or geometric feature.
 carries several different meanings but in thiscontext it is used to describe the communicative aspects of amodel, that is to say it is a mode of expression for design ideasrather than a generator of them.
 is described as a ratio in relation to reality and enablesarchitects and students to accurately describe design ideas indrawings and models. The specific scale used may be metric orimperial but care should always be taken when converting fromone scale to another.
, in relation to drawing, refers to a vertical cut madethrough a space or building. For modelmaking purposes thisconvention can allow the designer to explore connectionsbetween the interior and exterior of the design, as well asinternal relationships.