This sequence by UNStudio, made for the Mercedes-BenzMuseum, Stuttgart, typiﬁes the explorative approach, andclearly illustrates the design process and development. The design demonstrates a synthesis of programmaticand structural organizations, with the building’s geometryof three overlapping circles becoming a sophisticatedspatial experience.
The development of the design is reﬂectedin this cardboard model, which has beenassembled with greater accuracy and moreattention to detail so that speciﬁc elements canbe explored and the geometry reﬁned further.The introduction of additional materials in thismodel illustrates a consolidation of design ideasin relation to the two previous stages. At this juncture, the different zones and the accessbetween them is more reﬁned than before andthe building’s ﬂuid spaces become evident. A quickly produced model made from papershows the initial design idea of three circularzones connected by curvilinear areas. Thismodel has been annotated and sketched uponas the design is developed.Concept sketch illustrating ﬂuidity of circulation.
One of the signiﬁcant advantages of using thin sheets ofmaterial, such as paper and cardboard, is their ability topermit the investigation of different lighting conditions.Tracing paper makes a very effective substitute fortranslucent glazing elements, and is easy to obtain.
The reductivist nature of white cardboard models isvery popular in architecture, as they enable the viewerto examine ‘pure’ space. They also allow the moresculptural qualities of a proposal to be described andpresented without any unnecessary colour, texture ordetail to distract the eyes. These qualities were criticallyexplored in the late 1960s and early 1970s by PeterEisenman, whose series of residential designs werelabelled ‘cardboard architecture’ due to their thin white walls and model-like properties, serving to highlight theopportunity that the process of abstraction may provideas a design generator. Another useful material for thistype of model is foam board, which comprises a layerof foam sandwiched between two thin sheets of card.It is available in a range of thicknesses, which makes itsuitable for modelling different wall thicknesses, and,being relatively rigid, it can be used for self-supportingcomponents or even as a base for paper and cardboardmodels. Foam board is most commonly known inits white variant, but coloured sheets offer furtherpossibilities.