Physical models

In our work, technology defines much of what we do. Our studio equipment includes powerful computers and advanced software. But with all of these gadgets at our disposal, we’ve been asked why we spend so much time making physical models. This question led me to reevaluate how model making fits in our current practice.

It’s true, we step away from our keyboards and monitors for hours or days at a time in favor of razor knives, basswood, and glue. I believe the reason for this is that we recognize the spaces and structures we design are not virtual. The architecture we make is constructed of steel and glass, concrete and wood. And for us, the art of making is important. This philosophy extends to the act of making physical models as part of our process, which allows us to approach design and detailing at a tactile level.

It is worth explaining that we build different models for different reasons. From quick paper fabrications that diagrammatically explore an idea, to full scale “proof of concept” construction detail models, we approach real issues with real materials. A visit to our studio reveals a city’s worth of tiny buildings through which my cats have trampled as they perform their catzilla routine.

For us, it is the balance of using different media and techniques, as well as working at different scales that lead us to the design solutions we generate. We feel this approach maintains a strong connection to the built work we create.