Dude, Where’s My Model?



Dude, Where’s My Model?
by Lee Peters, Director of Foundation Studios


BAC students looking to avoid obstacles to success may begin by thinking through their choice of model making materials. The architectural model is a superior way to not only represent work to design critics, but it is also integral to understanding constructability in the real world. After students get over the initial challenge of measuring, cutting and joining materials they have an interactive tool for exploring ideas in rigorous and meaningful ways.

Too often, students select matt-black museum board or foamcore as a primary material only to find later how poorly the work photographs. The spaces thoughtfully conceived become black holes that even light cannot escape. Good model photography is integral to a BAC portfolio.

Balsa wood should be avoided, too. It doesn’t interact with glue so well, is inherently weak and the trees are cut from rain forests.

Basswood (Tilia Americana) is a domestic tree, glues well, cuts easily and looks great in photos. If looking to save money, try working with butterboard (sometimes called task board) which is the same color all the way through and will help achieve your design goals.

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