Book Review: Model Making for Architects

submitted by Dennis Heinzeroth


Model Making for Architects is written by Matthew Driscoll, an architectural model maker by training and profession. This is a welcome change of pace from other architectural model making books written by professors or architects, which tend to present model making to architectural students as a somewhat dry lecture on the history of model making with an emphasis on designing with forms and shapes.

In this book, Driscoll gives a brief overview of scale models and their importance in times past, but moves on quickly to the different types of models and their correlating scales and uses. From there, he moves right into Materials and Equipment, describing the various necessities required to fabricate scale models described in the book, such as hand tools, materials, supplies and machinery.

Moving on to The Purpose of a Model, Driscoll goes into the different styles of models and how and why they should be used, by asking and answering 3 key questions:

  1. What is the timescale of the model (when is the deadline)?
  2. What level of information is there about the model?
  3. What budget is available for the model?

He addresses the situation of communication between architect and model maker (either as an in-house or outside shop fabricator), as a very important component of the process to a successful completion of a project. As he later states, “A half-built model is no good to anyone.”

Following that is a series of tutorials that show the use of various model making materials and their construction methods along with a few model making examples. Interspersed among the how-to's are interviews with architectural model makers, a chapter on how and why an architect might decide on commissioning a model through an independent model shop or staying in-house, as well as a glossary and index.

There is some good information to be learned in this book for beginner or novice model makers. But if you're already an experienced model maker, you may not find any earth-shattering revelations inside. Still, there is great value in a book that addresses the topic of architectural models from someone who is an experienced model maker. 





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