The making of architectural models is often seenas a highly skilled craft preoccupied with accuracy, andwhilst this may be relevant to presentation models it doesnot automatically result in a good model. It is eminentlypossible to make creative and provocative models withoutlaborious and time-consuming techniques, and a widerange of inspirational examples are described in thefollowing sections of this book.
This section describes the various and mostcommonly used materials for model making. Thereare other materials that may be appropriated andincorporated into the modelling process, and someof these will be discussed in Part 2: Types and Part 3:Application later in this book. For the uninitiated, it is agood idea to experiment with different materials or to usethem in innovative new ways. In doing so, you will learntheir properties and may make some other interestingdiscoveries along the way. In more conventional terms,a model is a scaled-down version of an existing situationor a future building; therefore, through the practice of modelling actual surfaces are transformed into a modelthrough a process of abstraction. However, architecturaldesigners usually seek to retain the speciﬁc qualities ofmaterials and the effect they might have, because in theend a building’s appearance comes primarily from the sum of the materials from which it is constructed.This raises the question of which materials the modelshould incorporate so that it may best represent thedesigner’s ideas and the proposed architecture. This inturn leads us to survey the extensive range of materialsavailable to us. Some of these materials have beenused in architectural modelling for a long time, whilstothers are new – and, indeed, some were conceived forentirely different purposes. In addition, the opportunitiesprovided by CAD/CAM processes has further extendedthe ways architects may now approach how and why aswell as what they design.