Architectural practice is one aspect of a world that is increasingly virtual and mediated by technology. 3-dimensional computer models, renderings and fly-throughs are now commonplace in the architect’s office. Whilst these technologies have become essential to the way we live and design; a 3-dimensional computer rendering is still a flat plane on a piece of paper or computer screen. An architectural model is truly 3 dimensional – it can be picked up and viewed from any angle; and even seen through.

The craft of making things, whether drawings or models, is the essence of design. Making by hand explores thoughts and ideas before the brain has time to set boundaries. It is pre-verbal and non-linear thinking. I start making a rough model at the same time as I start sketching the first ideas. These models become a 3-dimensional sketch. They are often abstract and sculptural but allow expression of an initial idea in its purest form.

Within my office we work with the full range of technologies, but model making is fundamental to our office culture and the development of our designs.

Physical models allow us to share these spatial explorations with others – especially with clients, but also with other team members, planners and consultants. Design is collaborative. Discussion around design models allows everyone to engage with the design of spaces and contribute to the creative process.

This is why I make models.