Model Lamppost

question about architecture?

i've been drawing for 11 years now and i plan to be an architect when im through with highschool....i have the drawing part down and i'm currently taking art history where we study architecture from different civilizations...the only part i don't is how to build the actual models , i just want to learn the basics, im learning lots of archietectual terms from art history, but i don't know how to apply the techniques to actual models. If someone could give me a link or advice on the basics of designing and constructing buildings i'd be very grateful

You're referring to scale modeling. Within the actual discipline of architecture you might find a scale modeling class although that ability is secondary to being able to design a building that stands up. What's the point of building the model of a building that's going to collapse and kill its residents?

A good place to start might be a model railroader's forum or websites. The true model railroader is very keen on detail and they have all sorts of methods to build their stuff. Many of them will build their models from scratch, not a plastic, ready-to-build kit. And while you probably want your architectural models to be pristine, model railroaders have all sorts of techniques to weather and distress their buildings and rail cars to make them look authentically used.

The theatre frequently requires realistic-looking architectural interiors and exteriors to set "the mood" for the performance. A set design class (which would include doing scale modeling) might help.

The film industry also has a whole division dedicated to designing and building models that are used in movies. Often this is done for financial reasons and/or practical reasons ('cause I bet NYC is probably not going to let even the BEST Hollywood director light the Statue of Liberty on fire.)

Dollhouses would also be prime proving ground for modeling. Pre-made kits are OK but to make a Victorian house a TRUE Victorian, there's a LOT you can add to it.

All in all, it's the SKILLS you want to acquire, not necessarily the finished product (so if you're not into model railroading or dollhouses, don't worry.) Scale modeling requires fine hand-crafting skill, a collection of precise tools (some you may have to fashion yourself), and the ability to look at materials in unconventional ways to meet your modeling needs (i.e.—glass beads the right size and shape can be used as the tops of scale model lampposts.)

The best advice I can give you is to start designing AND building stuff! It's fun! Maybe you want to start out small (no pun intended). Let's say you want to build a scale model 1950s NYC butcher's store front (just the front facade, not the entire building.) First: what would it look like? What would be the materials used to build the real thing? Bricks, a cement stoop, an iron railing, a large storefront window, a coffered door, a canvas awning with the owner's name prominently displayed, double hung window sashes on the second floor, molded concrete cornicework. Google visual references online. Now that you have your vision in mind: how do you re-create it in miniature? Do you glue short segments of thin balsa wood strip to a piece of gray mat board and paint the top surfaces red to create bricks-and-mortar (that's a lot of work, BTW!...) Maybe you just print out a brick wall image from your computer and use spray glue to attach it to the mat board. Maybe you use molds for polymer clay (like Sculpey or Fimo) to make brick wall sections? Could you use the same polymer clay to fashion wrought iron details? What about gluing sand to some basswood blocks to simulate the concrete stoop? Do you use sculpting/casting techniques to duplicate corbels at the roofline instead of doing them one at a time? What jewelry findings at your local craft store could be used for ornate architectural ironwork?

Perhaps you can find a friend who likes to do scale modeling and learns tips and tricks from him/her.

Good luck!

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