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Whilst we have always been passionate and had the desire to make models, our new creative workshop has allowed model making to become an integral part of our studio culture. Having a purpose built, dedicated space to create, has pushed us to build more and build better, becoming fundamental to our ethos and the development of our designs. This tactile approach has allowed our studio and our clients to be further involved in the design process. Models facilitate interaction allowing deeper design discussions to take place, increasing our understanding of the intricacy of design.

Why build models?

The creation of built space and form is the fundamental basis of architecture and as architects we are interested in the relationship between people and the physical world. Model making is the closest design tool we have towards grasping this reality. It is a scaled manifestation of an architectural concept which provides actual size, allowing proportions to be assessed against the scale of the human body. This sculptural way of working is, for us, the best way to develop and understand spaces, whilst helping clients and design teams alike to fully envisage the finished form.

Within the model making process accidents also become an essential part of realising design. Mistakes within a model can purpose new solutions allowing an unexpected evolution. Before we can create boundaries to the way we think, enforce practicalities or prejudgment, a model can provoke a new perspective, a direction previously unexplored. 

Our process

Our purpose-built CNC machine, the only one of its kind in Scotland, allows us to experiment with different materials such as stone, metal and timber. This freedom has allowed us to explore things previously unachievable such as 1:1 models and the expression of the intended built material. Our 3D printer allows us to explore smaller more complex objects that would be too time consuming to build by hand. However, within our workshop we also encourage the use of models which are roughly made, which are used to develop ideas. Initial abstract models are a valuable design tool and convey an early concept in its purest form. Once the design has developed further, we might choose to build a more finalised model, a tool to further detail design, use at presentations or meetings and to display within our studio, which declares to visitors our love for design.

The evolution of the Port of Leith design through model making
Testing the CNC 1:1 Capability